Early Elberta Peaches 2 The Prudent Homemaker 

I skipped my trip to Sam’s Club last month, since there was a  .49 a pound pasta sale at Smith’s. That is a price that only comes around a couple of times a year, so I went there to buy that, milk (which was on sale for lower than Sam’s price), men’s deodorant, and more ice cream.

This means I have all of last month’s items to buy, as well as a few more items to buy, (including some that are on sale) at Sam’s Club right now. I’ll go to Sam’s Club right at the beginning of the month. I’m also going to buy a larger quantity of some of these items.

I’m placing an online order from San Francisco Herb Company as part of this month’s shopping.

I feel that right now it is essential to stock our pantries. If your pantry is low on anything, I highly recommend that you take the time this summer to fill in any gaps. Do not delay this. If you have the space for a fall garden, please plant one. Purchase open-pollinated seeds in large quantities. (Outside Pride has a July sale for 15% off any orders through July 5th; use code JULY. Territorial Seed Company has released their fall catalog and you can find a fall planting chart here).

I will be focusing the bulk of my purchases on pantry items over the next several months.

The garden provides lots of fresh items this month. I am picking peaches, grapes, and red noodle beans. I will harvest and dry sage, oregano, spearmint, hot peppers, passionflower leaves, blackberry leaves and basil. I also have green onions, leeks, Swiss chard, a few strawberries, and more herbs that I will harvest from the garden.  

My cucumber and zucchini plants are alive, but small. I don’t expect to get anything from them yet, but I am grateful to have some plants that have finally not been eaten by bugs!

A note for those who are in the northern hemisphere in a cooler climate than I am: July is a great month to start seeds for a fall harvest. This is a helpful chart for fall planting.


Sam’s Club:

Rice ($8.64 for 25 pounds)

Worcestershire sauce (this is on sale)

Knorr Chicken Bullion powder (this is now .40 less at Sam’s Club than Walmart)

Black pepper


Powdered sugar

Brown sugar

All-purpose flour


Chocolate Chips (By the time Sam’s Club opens in the morning, it is 105º, and the car is much hotter inside. I’ll take ice in an insulated bag to the store so that I can bring these home unmelted.)




K.C. Masterpiece BBQ sauce

Pancake Syrup After reading how many of you make your own I will be trying that instead.

White Vinegar

Oxi-Clean Powder

POM Toilet paper

Cheddar Cheese (5 pound block for $11.66)

Mozarella cheese (5 pounds shredded for $10.66)

Pepperoni (the only exception to my $2 price per pound limit–it’s $10.52 for 3 pounds–but we only use a tiny amount at a time when we make pizza)

Gatorade powder (I have never bought this, but after reading the comments here and researching prices, this looks like a great way to store an electrolyte solution for when people are sick, and it looks to be lower cost than other options).



Pink beans


Potatoes (if I can find them for .20 a pound or less)

Carrots (I am drying some each month in my dehydrator)





Knorr Tomato Bullion powder

Vegetable Oil


San Franciso Herb Company:


Cheddar cheese powder

Lemon juice powder

Cream of Tartar

Cocoa powder (Dutch process is $5.72 a pound if you buy 5 or more pounds, otherwise it is $6.35 a pound)


Parsley powder

Hibiscus flowers


Orange peel granules 



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  1. Instead of buying vanilla (which is unbelievably expensive), have you ever thought about making your own?

    I buy vanilla beans in bulk online; add them to several bottles of cheap vodka and you have your own (cheaper!) vanilla extract. This allows me to not worry about the price when I use too much in my baking (yum!). I use close to a dozen beans each summer making strawberry vanilla jam, nectarine vanilla jam, etc. I also make lots of vanilla ice cream (using the beans in addition to the extract) during the summer. At Christmas, I give gifts that consist of some jam, a few vanilla beans, a bottle of vanilla extract, and either vanilla sugar or salt to the family and friends on my list. Plus, if you take care to wrap the beans well, you can buy them every other year and always have them on hand.

  2. I have thought about it. What price have you found it to be for 16 ounces? Vanilla has gone up recently quite a bit; it’s now $8.98 for 16 ounces of pure vanilla extract at Sam’s. Vanilla beans and vodka are not cheap, though. I would love to hear from others who are making it for less–please include sources for vanilla beans and vodka, and what price you are paying for everything.

  3. I appreciate you sharing your lists!
    You said not to delay…is it because you fear increased costs or some other reason?

  4. I’ve had good success buying vanilla beans at olivenation.com. 25 beans are $21.95.

    Brandy – can you please elaborate on why you feel so strongly about pantry stocking this summer? There was a strong sense of urgency in your post. Thanks 🙂

  5. What do you use cheddar cheese powder for? Is it similar to what you get in a Mac and cheese box?

  6. I so agree with you, Brandy, about the urgency of the times. We make our own chicken bouillon by boiling down chicken stock made from the leftover bones to the point that it gels. Then we put it in the dehydrator (just a small bit per tray because it melts) until it becomes dry and brittle. Then we grind it in an old coffee grinder. If you don’t have a dehydrator you could probably do it solar in your hot dry climate. We stick our trays in the car (black interior) on hot days. It takes about the same amount of time as the dehydrator. We just made kale chips yesterday this way.

  7. When you say both, It leaves me concerned you know something I don’t…? I try to follow the news, & keep up with world events, however, I am far from Cali, I live in Arkansas.. The direction our world is going quickly is upsetting! I have followed your blog now for about 5 years, & it is what got me into stocking up… Thanks so much for all the helps!!

  8. I was curious if you get the 102oz of the tomato sauce how do you store it when you open the can up? Do you put it in jars and water bath it? That is been a thought that crosses my mind instead of filling it up in containers in the freezer.

  9. That’s good enough for me. Marion G. Romney said that we would one day live on what we produce. I think with everything happening in the world that we should be truly prepared for the time when it comes here. We are not immune.

  10. In summer of 2007, I knew a good many people who felt the need to increase their storage. They felt it strongly. I did not feel it, but I had a good storage then. Nevertheless, I decided to not wait to add to my storage, and I added some anyway. I was the first of those people I knew who started to live on their food storage. That was January 2007. The others followed, though all much later than I did.

    That time is nothing compared to how I feel now. You can see my comment below to Libby. Even if you don’t agree or believe me, even if you don’t feel that need, as I didn’t then–get as much as you can. You will not regret it. I think we will all, worldwide, shortly need everything we have.

  11. We use the whole thing now at one meal when we make spaghetti. I used to make it go further but my family loves sauce and my children keep growing 🙂 . If I am making pizza sauce, I freeze it in bags. If I am making steak sauce, I find a way to use the rest or freeze it for enchiladas.

  12. If anyone lives near Fred Meyer (I’m in Wa state). They have cheese for $1.99 for 8 ounces (bars, shredded or sliced). Limit is 4 per coupon (in ad coupon)

  13. I used to use Mapleine when we lived in MO. I can’t find it here so I just use maple flavoring or whatever flavoring the kids want. I add two cups of sugar to 1 cup of water and add 1 tsp of flavoring. I don’t know what the cost is exactly because I can’t remember what I paid for the sugar I bought (we are mostly living on food storage right now) but I remember that it was considerably less than buying it and it doesn’t have HFCS in it. I can’t imagine it being more than 60 cents for a pint. It all depends on the cost of your sugar and flavoring. Sorry I can’t be more helpful.

  14. I have a recipe for a homemade gatorade. It’s lovely and uses food storage ingredients: 4 cups cold water, 3 T sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 cup lemon juice. It’s a nice recipe if you’re in a pinch. Also, I’m curious how you dehydrate your carrots. Thanks for all you do, I am certainly better prepared to live off of my food storage because of reading this blog!

  15. I’ve been watching documentaries about the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl and WWII in Europe. It was such a dire time and so many people died because they were unprepared. I want my family to eat something besides silage bread so I am getting as prepared as I can. I will use the food no matter what happens but it feels good to know I have a long-term food supply in case something does happen. I can’t imagine not having something to feed my children.

    For those of you on the fence about preparation, I highly recommend watching you tube videos such as Wartime farm. Prior to WWII, Britain imported more than 60% of their food. When their supply was mostly cut off by the Germans, they had to resort to growing their own food. They killed off large amounts of livestock in order to make room for growing grain. So things like meat were very scarce. They lived mostly on milk, bread, and veggies. Rationing was the norm and remained in effect until 1954 – 9 years AFTER the war ended. So think for a moment about what we import and think about what is trucked in to where you live. And use that information to help you know what to stock up on. Just my 2 cents.

  16. Thank you so much for sharing your list. I look forward to your posts each and every week. You’ve given me a new perspective on quite a few things. Thank you for all you do.

  17. Brandy, I know this will vary for every family, but what do you feel is the most important things you can stockpile for an economic downfall? Why would you pick these? As a mother of four, I have been troubled for some time about this hour we live and need to stockpile more.

  18. I get my beans from Olive Nation too. Great quality! And you can use them for years. I always have at least two jars going. WHen one gets low, I add more vodka to it and use the other finished jar. I’ve never priced it per ounce though so I honestly have no idea if it’s cheaper or not. After a few years of using the beans or if I use a bean to scrape out the seeds, I then set that bean on the counter to dry out. THen pop it in a mason jar with sugar to make the most delightful vanilla sugar!

  19. I usually buy it at Wal-Mart. I buy the cheapest brand I can. I, too, am always looking for ways to cut costs. Your blog has been very helpful to me in doing that. 🙂

  20. (Prices from my last purchase, June 2014. I ordered beans from Beanilla.com and purchased the vodka from my local package store. Beanilla changes their prices and package counts every year, depending on the bean harvest.)

    $62.95 – 1 LB Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans (Approximately 70-100 Beans) included free shipping
    $14.00 – two 750ml bottles of the cheapest 80 proof vodka the store sold

    24 beans split, scraped, and shoved into the first bottle of vodka, which sits in the dark for 3 months before it is ready. I keep a smaller bottle in the kitchen for every day use that I refill when necessary. I top the original bottle off with the vodka from the second bottle, as well as add in any scraped beans that I may use in baking.

    Assuming 85 beans in the package, that gives me approximately $0.64/ounce over 50 ounces of vanilla extract. We go through this in about 2 years. Not as good a price as you mentioned but I feel good knowing exactly what went into it and I have less packaging to trash/recycle. I also have approximately 60 beans left at $0.74/bean, which is still cheaper than supermarket prices.

  21. Thank you for the link regarding winter gardening. I had just purchased rutabaga seeds yesterday, & today was wondering when I should plant my fall beets and carrots. So, perfect timing! I too buy my vanilla beans from Olive Nation. Good price and quality. Gatorade is a good way of replenishing electrolytes. Another is Emergen-C, which is what we use. I’m not sure if you have Dollar General in your area, but they now carry it. My discount grocery has also been offering it at $2 for a 30 ct. box, which is very cheap, but not sure what you may have available there, or how that compares to the Gatorade powder price. It says a packet holds 8.8 g. Thanks also for the heads up on stocking up. I too have been doing it for years, but there are always things that need replenishing, so I will keep that in mind when I shop.

  22. I know that this is about shopping plans but I wanted to comment on the issue of stockpiles. I am descended from homesteaders (US) and have roots all the way back to the Mayflower. Most of my ancestors were farmers (and ranchers when they moved west) and small trades people. From what I know they really weren’t ever ‘city people’. So maybe that is why my stockpiling needs are so great. I will always remember my maternal grandparents basement for the food storage – freezers of meat, canned goods, dry goods, etc. Even when it was just the two of them. My partner’s father had a huge barn that had jars and jars of washer, nuts, bolts, nails and bins of wire and twine and about everything that you can think of. We have the same thing – along with hand tools, hand garden tools, lumber and metal for projects. It is a type of stockpiling as well – and we use it daily.

    Every household that could kept storage. If an animal was killed it was preserved any way possible – drying, smoking, salting, canning. Most of my family hunted (and some still do) and those animals weren’t trophies (even though some boasting might happen) – they were provisions. A garden was a must and that food was preserved any way possible. “Putting by” was just part of life. When possible the basics – flour, salt, sugar, grains, leavening, seasoning (especially pepper) were bought in bulk and stored. Chickens were almost a given – for their eggs, for their meat and even for their manure.

    Even as a single woman I always had storage. My friends would laugh (but not my siblings interestingly enough) about it. And not just food – candles, oil lamps, something to heat/cook with, etc.

    So, if everything is so easy to come by why would a middle-class professional woman do this?

    First of all – I love to cook and hate to not have what I need. That said those needs have changed over time. This has served me well as I have the seasonings and ingredients to make meals from scratch so I don’t have to run to the store.

    Second – it is just prudent. There have been times in my life when I didn’t want someone else to control my ability to make my own decisions. For me that meant that if I was in a horrible work situation (which luckily has only happened twice in my life) I could leave and not feel that I was held hostage. I had food, I had some cash reserves and I had the ability to keep myself fed, clothed and sheltered.

    Third – when I see someone in a disaster situation that has no food, no light, no warmth, no shelter and is expecting ‘someone’ else to come to their aid that they have given away all their power. We, as a society, are three days away from not having food in our stores. Grocery stores drive their profit margins by not having instore warehousing. So three days without shipments means the shelves are bare. It is almost like some people think that there is some huge warehouse behind their local grocery store that keeps things stocked!

    Fourth – these are life skills we all should have. When there were home economic classes, active 4H/Scouts, parents like mine that taught life skills, everyone had the tools to take care of themselves. Even in the country that is no longer true! The advent of fast food, quick stops, microwaves has created, even in those who have access to locally grown food or even their own gardens, generations that don’t know how to take care of themselves. I include sewing (our mother taught my two younger brothers to sew), carpentry (my father taught me how to select wood, how to make basic things), gardening, preserving, cooking (all my sibs are great cooks as both my parents cooked), etc.

    Even if someone doesn’t have some compelling reason or sense of needing to stockpile, isn’t it just prudent (which is how I found Brandy – by looking for blogs with that word)? This isn’t hoarding – this is obtaining and then using what is needed to keep life going. Oh – on a lighter note, maybe my book collection could be called hoarding but hey – when needed I can always find something interesting to read!

  23. Did you know that you can make powdered sugar in a Vitamix? You just blend regular sugar on high about a cup at a time. I throw in a TBSP of corn starch to prevent clumping. I imagine it would work in other high powered blenders if you don’t have a Vitamix.

  24. Brandy- I completely understand your pull for food storage. We do not have the same religion/belief system, but I feel the pull now more than I ever have before.

    Unfortunately, with us paying off debt our food stores are running lower than they ever have before. For some reason though, the past two weeks, I felt this “need” to bulk up our garden, food supplies, etc. I am stock piling every week with half of my food budget. Next week I am getting yeast and flour. The following week I am getting beans and sugar. I am going to eventually get molasses as well to use as a sweetener and to make brown sugar. I am going to stock up on seeds too now per your recommendation. I’m thinking I’m going to cut dairy from our budget for the next 4-6 weeks in order to use that money to stockpile.

    I was reading the comments and I make my own maple flavored syrup using mapleine. To fill an old syrup bottle costs me between 78-95 cents depending on if I use white sugar, brown sugar or a combination of the two. For taste I like just brown sugar, but for costs I like to combine the two.

  25. You are very right about point number three. I have lived through several hurricanes (I haven’t always been CeCee in Reno. I was once CeCee in Louisiana) most notably hurricane Katrina. I have seen what not being prepared does to people. The fact that I didn’t live in hurricane territory has caused me to slack off some. I’m almost embarrassed about that. I will be working to up my stores though ASAP.

  26. When you said “both”,I had a feeling it had to do w our countries current climate. I agree and plan on filling in my storage!
    Thanks Brandy. 😀

  27. I am wondering if there is gatorade or something similar without all the food coloring and other unnatural chemicals. I have never stocked up on electrolytes for when we are sick just medicines, cough drops, etc.

  28. When my parents met us in LA earlier this year, my mom brought tons of different baking chips with her – butterscotch, a few different chocolate, cinnamon, etc. Small problem – on the drive from SLC to LA they had melted (I blame Nevada). She apologised but I gladly took them anyway because we have a much more limited variety of chips in this country. (Ah, the things I’ve had to sacrifice to live in a country with high wages, generous family benefits, and almost-free medical care!) Most had only partially melted, so that’s not a big deal; I just break up the bigger chunks when I want to use one of those bags. One bag had melted completely; it was liquid when I got it and then solidified into a big block. When I made cookies with that bag I melted them down entirely over a double boiler and then stirred the melted chocolate into the dough. I think I might have had to add a bit more liquid to get the dough to good consistency. Anyway, the cookies were still very yummy. So, yeah, you don’t want your chips to melt; but it’s not the end of the world if they do, you can still use them, it just takes a bit more effort.

  29. Brandy, thank you very much for your comments on the need to increase our pantry. I have felt very uneasy over the past year, and felt more and more uneasy this spring. I have made some efforts to be prepared but they have been quite incomplete. I keep getting subtle messages that we need to be prepared, and I need to stop nodding my head and move into organized action. Thank you again. Best case, I will have more than I need 😉

  30. I am not Brandy, but I think beans would be a good option. They are filling and provide protein. Canned meat such as tuna and chicken, canned fruits and veggies, pasta, and then the basics for cooking – oil, sugar, flour, spices that you use, etc. Don’t forget toiletries.

  31. I wanted to share that Sam’s has the Pom TP and Pom paper towels on sale. If you buy a box of each, you get I believe 8.98 off. I went in this weekend for TP and did not buy the paper towels or get the deal. I have almost a full box of Pom paper towels, do not use that many. I want to thank Brandy for posting about the Pom. I had been buying Aldi, 12 rolls for 4.99 which is close to the Pom price, but it is a smaller roll! I was at Sams, and the woman in line in front of me had a Pom box in her cart and I said. ” Have you purchased that before? Is it paper thin. She opened a roll and me feel it!

    I know if I go back to Sams, and decide to get the paper towels, they may honor that deal with the receipt. I may do that, I have the room, but that is a lot of paper towels. I enjoy reading here so. I do not post that often, but read all!

  32. Dear Brandy, Thank you for this message. I started to feel this here in Australia before Christmas. I had never felt it before. Last week I feel a sense of great urgency. I know what you are saying re being Jewish and knowing to leave Germany in time. Of course not everyone has the chance to leave but many knew what were coming and left in time. I saw a string of events that scare me greatly and I know they are coming here very soon to Australia also. We are always shortly behind the US in everything. I am very afraid for my US Christian friends, I have three that I am so worried for. I know I should just be praying and not worrying…
    I will tell everyone I know to read what you have written and would appreciate anything more you can add at any time.
    With gratitude. Annabel.xxx

  33. What a coincidence! SO and I had a discussion this morning about kicking it up a notch with our preparedness. We have gotten lax with our hurricane preparedness. I used to always have enough water and cash in the house and never let the gas tank get below a half tank during hurricane season, but we haven’t been doing it this season. We decided to start again ASAP. I always try to keep a pantry, but I’ve gotten slack with that too and need to start building my pantry up again and maintaining it year round. Even if we don’t have a direct hit, as soon as a hurricane warning is issued the grocery stores are emptied out, long lines at the gas pumps, and eventually no gas or money in the ATMs.

  34. Rhonda, I checked out the apple pancake syrup recipe.. Thank you so much for sharing the sight. My husband loves apples, I just know ,he will like this..

  35. I bought my beans from olive nation and the cheapest vodka I could fine and it last me for three years. I made another batch in April.

  36. I would prefer that. You can make your own with sugar, water, and salt, but I couldn’t get the children to drink it (they won’t touch pedialyte either). I think having something powdered, where I could just make a little, that tastes good, would be helpful for sickness and cut down on waste. But since I haven’t found a great dye-free option that tastes great, I’m going to try this one. In the past I have bought PowerAde on sale for this purpose, but I rarely need a whole bottle when people are sick.

  37. Thank you, Brandy, for your blog! You inspire me every week. It is very interesting to me to read about so many feeling the urgency to get their food storage. We have been feeling it as well, but thought maybe it was because it is hurricane season here in Houston. I don’t believe it is coincidence and am grateful for inspiration.

  38. Wow and here I felt like one of the only ones who has been feeling the sense of urgency. I am low on several items. I am hoping to stock up next week after I take an inventory and do some rearranging this week. We were blessedwith some extra money recently, I am specifically using some of it to get us more prepared.

  39. Brandy and all,

    When we had a great Latino grocery store near us they had hibiscus flowers (Jamaica) in bulk. They also had great prices on fruit, dried spices and herbs, bulk bean and rice for those that don’t have access to these.

  40. Well, regardless of religion or place you are in life stocking up is not a bad idea. Up here in Alaska I have been wowed with dock worker strikes and how things like toilet paper just plain weren’t on store shelves, so I try to keep that in mind when keeping up a good stockpile. But, I also grew up on the East Coast in hurricane and blizzard country (Maine) and was wowed all through my childhood of the “Blizzard of…” and “Hurricane…”. Hurricane Gloria when I was a kid was a good learning experience for me as my parents and my neighbors helped out others in the neighborhood who weren’t prepared to be without power and without proper food storage as the roads were shut down for four days or so with high lines and large trees down. My Grandfather told me tales of horror of the aftermath of some terrible hurricanes as he lived near the water and the people who were unprepared to deal with it.

    Kind of scary really, but shows the necessity to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. I’m really trying hard with how limited our funds are to do what can be done.

    My goals for this month can be found here…


  41. Brandy,

    You can find bulk cocoa powder at azure standard for 27.95. They may even have a drop location near you so you wouldn’t have to pay for shipping. Oh….that’s for five pounds. Also….they have good prices for bulk items and fruit. I know that feeling of urgency you are talking about. I’ve felt it for a while but in early spring it definitely has gotten stronger. It’s hard to explain.

  42. If you are wondering how much of everything you should store, there are interactive food storage calculators online. If you don’t like a particular item, just substitute something else. For example, I am allergic to soy so rather than storing 100 pounds of soybeans, I store an extra 100 pounds of other dried beans. There is great information on the http://www.providentliving.org website. Between that site and this blog, you should have quite enough information about what to store. Mother Earth News and Backwoods Home Magazine are other good sources especially when it comes to gardening. Best wishes to all!

  43. Kayleen, If you live in Arkansas there is a page you can ask to join.. It is called Arkansas Prepper Sisters… We are such a unique group due to the fact we don’t have alot of options for shopping like many others do, due to the fact of living in Walmart land…

  44. Your post has me very worried. I would like it very much if you would do a post on what you consider to be the most important things to have in a stockpile and for survival.

  45. Apple pancake syrup used to be sold in stores when I was little. I think it used to be pretty common to make it.

    I use (gasp) vanilla flavoring. Cooks Illustrated did a cost comparison on their show years ago and as much as they hated to admit it, there was no noticeable difference in flavor in the finished product. I even use it for vanilla milk and it’s fine. It is also half the price for twice the amount at Sam’s Club.

    I also stocked up on pasta at Kroger. Probably 150 pounds. I am currently feeding 9 so that should last 6 months or so.

    I’m in the Mid West where we have GFS. You can get a 10# roll of ground beef (from Mexico) for $1.99 a pound. Limit one per customer but they are nice about each family member going through as an individual transaction.

  46. I think one just has to look at what is happening in Greece now to see what could come in a financial collapse. The U.S. mainstream press has not done a very good job in covering the turmoil over there but blogs and some foreign papers that I read online have provided good coverage. Our national debt just isn’t sustainable and while I don’t know how it will play out, I want to be as prepared as I can be if/when things go wrong. That includes stocking up on food, water, and toiletries for both short term emergencies and long-term living. If I had smaller children who change clothing size every year (or more frequently), I would also be stocking up on their clothing needs for the next few years, especially things like shoes and winter coats for those in a colder climate. I’m also keeping a decent amount of cash at home to avoid issues such as the withdrawal limits in Greece right now. Can it happen here? Defnitely! Will it happen here? I don’t know, but I want to be prepared. Rereading the story of Joseph and his work as the Pharoah’s representative storing food during the good times to cover the famine years that followed reinforces that we should be preparing; I just don’t agree in turning it all over to the government and letting them dispense it as they see fit.

    I’m so glad I read this blog and several others that have all helped reinforce the concept of being prepared without going insane. Several months ago there was a water main break in an affluent section of Columbia, Maryland, and the county was giving out bottled water to those affected. First, I don’t understand why they had to give it away when there are any number of stores (grocery, drug, etc.) that were fully stocked and where people could purchase what they needed (again, this is not a poor area). Second, there was a mom with 3 smaller children and a nice minivan on the news saying that they didn’t even have enough water in the house to finish brushing their teeth that morning so the water was really needed. I wont’ even go in to how I feel about her emergency preparedness! Seriously, no water at all – couldn’t even melt ice???

    Finally, someone mentioned an EMP. After reading the book “One Second After” by William Forstchen, I’m not sure I WANT to survive and live through the aftermath but that is God’s decision, not mine.

  47. I purchase the #10 cans of tomato sauce at Sam’s Club. I doctor it up with tomato paste and other seasonings, then freeze what we do not use in the first meal in 3 cup containers, which are enough for us. We are only a family of three, so I usually get 4-5 meals out of one can.

  48. There have been advertisements on TV here about a speech/warning from Ron Paul about the global economy going ‘out the window’ because the dollar is going to be almost worthless. (look at Greece) I watched his 15 minute video and then got the book he described to, 2020 by Andrew Lyons. Have not read the book yet, just got it yesterday, but it really makes me feel the pull I have been feeling is not just my imagination. We are bulking up our stockpiles too. We are looking into other ways to keep our savings safe. I just do not want to be caught unaware and be one of those people in a soup line.

  49. I have also felt the urgency to be prepared! I have spent the week adding to my first aid supplies and looking for books on basic first aid at goodwill. I did a little more shopping to get deals at Walgreens and made a trip dollar tree. U found tarps there. Not the best but for $1 I picked up several. Brandy and readers.what are things you are stocking up on?

  50. Brandy, I’m right there with you. I read BBC News daily now. There’s a LOT going on in the greater world that we should be paying attention to. Donald Trump is merely a distraction.

  51. That is an interesting question.

    You can see my pantry list if you click above on Cook–Learn–Pantry. One thing I have learned from living on our pantry is to have as much variety as possible.

    I have been transitioning to all open-pollinated seeds in my garden. I am really happy to have green onion, leaf lettuce, and Swiss chard seeds, as they are all plants that you cut, let grow back, and then harvest from again. The lettuce is best when it is cool but the other two I grow year-round, and all can be grown in limited sunlight.

    I think it’s important to have water stored. Living through a major earthquake, I was so glad we did not lose water. The grocery store shelves were cleared within half an hour of water, and the earthquake was before dawn. Gas stations closed down and so if you ran out of gas, you couldn’t go to get more water. In the last year we have seen a lot of water contamination issues in the U.S.; it’s always good for any emergency to have water. I personally went back to school after a week and was one of the few students who had water at home. My parents did not have any preparations for an emergency; if we had lost water we would have had difficulties.

    Beyond that, warm clothing, blankets, shoes, work gloves (think of the need for these after an event like a hurricane or earthquake), dust masks (same reason), axes, etc.

    But for more financial reasons, I’ve seen it’s always good to: 1. Be out of debt; 2. Have some savings 3. Have some cash; Greece’s new limit is $66 a day.

    I’ve had a lot of questions about emergency supplies, so I think a separate post is in order.

  52. Mari, I also live in Maryland. I work in Columbia, but live out in the boonies. I remember seeing the news about the water main break, and I was flabbergasted. I also remember the last big blizzard we had, when the news people were highlighting some bozo who was using a propane stove to cook – INSIDE of his house. How they didn’t all end up dead from carbon monoxide poisoning is beyond me. My take away from this is that rich doesn’t equal common sense.

  53. I just want to add that Backwoods Home puts out an emergency preparedness manual. It’s a little dated but has lists in it for medical supplies, 72 hour kits, gardening supplies, and food storage. It is well done and certainly will get the preparedness juices flowing. I am looking forward to Brandy’s future posts regarding this topic. 🙂

    Oh, one more thing, if you can get an old Boy Scout manual, that will go a long way toward helping you in survival situations.

  54. The initial investment for the beans can be a bit scary, but the beans can be reused multiple times. You can buy just a few at a time. Or, a few is all you need to start the project.

  55. Hmm…Maybe this winter I will experiment with the homemade recipe by adding some to mint tea. Hopefully this a bit more drinkable. I lovely using things already in the pantry to make theses types of products. Thanks!

  56. Yes, a separate post please! And I would also love one on food storage, that is a topic that fascinates me. I was looking at our food stockpile the other day thinking maybe I have gone overboard but then I came here where there are like-minded people and realized how this is wise thinking. And instead of thinking I have too much food, I am going to work even harder at accumulating food and health and beauty supplies. Do you have any books you have read in regards to food storage? Thanks so much for the work you do for this blog. You have helped change my mind set on so many things, and have changed my life for the positive.

  57. I see a lot of Arkansas ladies here. I’m from south Arkansas. Good to see like minded people in such a positive place.

  58. I was wondering what you put in your 72 hour bags. A post on stockpiling, ways to have enough water and general survival tips in different emergency scenerios including how to cook, stay warm/cool, healthy, finances etc. that you could advise on would be greatly appreciated. Your posts are very informative and helpful, thank you.

  59. So love this blog and the community here….thanks for keeping it going and thanks to all who participate.

    First a canning question: I was reading a canning/preserve published cookbook by author Jean Parre. In the book, she has a recipe for a relish made with chopped up stalks from chard. It’s a vinegar and sugar based water-bath canning recipe similar to the relish one would make for hotdogs, etc. Has anyone else heard of making this kind of relish? I am really interested since I can’t grow sweet peppers here but can grow chard. I think the red chard stems would make a wonderful substitute for red sweet peppers in my relish recipe. Any help would be welcome.
    So, second, this whole thread of preparing is sending me to the store today for more sugar and beans. Both are on sale here. I’ve thought about buying some but hear my local friends voices saying “why do you keep such a pantry anyway”. I’ve wanted to stock up since I feel there are some gaps in what I currently have. This discussion thread has been such a good support for me.

    My frugals for the week continue to be harvesting from my community garden beds, buying with cash and tracking my spending, and cooking (even in our heat) and avoiding eating out. I also continue to build community in my now 4-year residence in my apartment building. One of my neighbors now has a plot in my community garden. Bonus – she cans!! So we are planning a canning session in our buildings’ common room. Frugal because there is no charge to use the room – we can use the kitchen there and its electricity for free as well as keeping our units cool while we can. And to find someone so like-minded here is fabulous. What fun to share the work with someone!

  60. One of the Tightwad Gazette books has a recipe for a simple maple flavored syrup. I don’t have time right now to post but I used to make it when my house was full of kids and teens. It was cheap to make and well received by all. And I no longer had to monitor how much syrup was being used -love love love.

  61. Mari in Md — if it’s ok with Brandi, could you share which other blogs you’ve been reading?

  62. Brandy- I do 1 cup white sugar, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 3/4 cup water, and 1.5 teaspoon of Mapeline. I bring to boil and reduce to simmer for 3-5 min, depending on how thick I want it. It will thicken as it cools so don’t cook too much.

    This recipe is the closest to real syrup in taste and thickness while still being cost efficient. If you do all brown sugar it will taste and feel just like syrup but cost a little more.

    I played with my ratio a while until I found what we liked best.

  63. Brandy, I haven’t read through all the comments, so someone might have already mentioned this. But, you can make Gatorade at home with sugar, Kool-Aid (or a generic equivalent) or lemon/lime juice (the stuff in bottles works fine), salt, and salt substitute (such as Accent). When I was out of work I made this at home (I actually just used salt and left out the salt substitute). If you look on the internet, you will find many recipes. I haven’t done a price analysis to compare the homemade Gatorade to the store bought ready made stuff, but I would imagine that it has to be cheaper. I totally understand if you don’t have time to go to the trouble though- I’ve been having lots of trouble with dehydration due to being very pregnant and also still nursing my 1 year old, I’m too exhausted to be bothered and money isn’t too tight, so I just buy my Gatorade and Vitamin Water. I just wanted to share that it can be made at home. This discovery was actually one of the things that opened my eyes and made me realize how much I could make at home myself.

  64. I too agree about the urgency of our times, for various reasons. But more importantly – even if you do not worry about terrorist attacks, the state of our nation & world, or believe/feel that our country is in danger, preparedness is *always* a positive thing. It doesn’t only have to focus on an “end times” scenario. Think about natural disasters, loss of a job or reduction of income, illness, a short paycheck, an unexpected car or home repair. Stocking up your pantry, first aid kits, cleaning & laundry supplies, hygiene supplies, pet supplies, etc., is a way to “shield” against those things, if (and inevitably when) they happen. At least if you have a fully stocked pantry & freezer when your pay is short, it’s that much less money you have to spend. If you are stuck at home without the ability to get to a store for several days, you have food to eat. To me it’s just good common sense. Better to be safe than sorry, as the old adage goes.

    We buy the Gatorade powder. It only comes in 1 flavor at our Sam’s Club, but it’s a good way to store it long-term for when someone is sick instead of running out to buy bottles when you need them. It’s also nice to be able to mix up a pitcher in the fridge for when you’ve been working outside in the heat.

    FYI Sam’s also has the same size container of dry sweetened Kool-Aid powder (tropical punch flavor) on sale for $5.48 right now ($1.50 off regular price) until July 19. The flavor is very good and it’s a fun summer treat for the kids.

    You can use that powder to make your own homemade Gatorade:
    2 quarts water
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    Kool-Aid mix (1 pouch, or use directions on side of large canister for 2 quarts)

    Mix, chill and serve.

  65. Was wondering what you make with the Hibiscus flowers. Also is there a way of getting your blogs in my email again I really miss them?

  66. I agree! I would personally love to see a post on preparedness & stocking up. Since you & your family (Brandy) lived basically without shopping, or shopping very minimally, for an extended period, I would say you’re very qualified to write such a post.

  67. Look up the book “Lights Out” by HalfFast/David Crawford. It is available online as a free PDF. It is a less bleak but still very interesting account of what “could” happen in an EMP/extended blackout situation. Good reading and good food for thought. IMHO “One Second After” was written to elicit an emotional response, to get people feeling something about the possibility of EMP. People who might not otherwise believe in such things or think it could ever happen to us. It did a good job of that!

    Whenever I think of emergency preparedness I am reminded of when the police were searching for the Boston Marathon bombers through that city, and had the entire area on lockdown for a day or 2 while they searced. I specifically remember seeing photos of a police officer delivering a gallon of milk to a family with young children, who had run out. The media was lauding the cop for doing this (and I agree, great to see positive interaction between police & the public), but it just made me wonder how bad your situation is if you can’t even go one full day without running out of milk?

  68. I made vanilla syrup the last time I made pancakes too, and realised we were out of maple syrup. I found a recipe on-line, it was pretty simple. The recipe said it was only good for 4-5 pancakes so I doubled it and I have soooo much vanilla syrup now I’m not sure we’ll finish it! It tastes nothing like maple syrup; but it’s still yummy.

  69. I have been stocking for several years now, I have 3 gardens this year. I grow my own green beans, peas, corn, squash, tomatoes, peppers, onions, cantaloupes etc. I can and freeze everything that I can get my hands on.We purchase sell items in quantity when we can. I too believe that we are headed for some really hard times like we have not seen before. It absolutely amazes me that people are so unaware to what is happening. I read your site daily keep up the good work. God is in control I know that but He also gives us the sense to do what we can to help not only ourselves but others.

  70. Deborah I don’t know why the system isn’t emailing everyone every time. It’s just me working on the site and I am just using the email program that came with the blog program that I pay for. I wish I could fix it 🙁 I’m sorry you’re not getting them.

    The hibiscus flowers are used to make an herbal tea. I am growing hibiscus, but not fast enough 🙂 I thought it would be nice to have more. I am going to look for it locally too following another reader’s suggestion.

  71. Strangely enough this very week I felt a sudden need to take inventory of my pantry and freezer. I hate to say I have slacked off a bit and am low on quite a bit. I went to a store called Grocery Outlet this morning to get alot of canned goods. I am headed to costco and winco on Tuesday for bulk. Now I have little budget and 5 children but this month the money is going to stocking up. Glad to hear the other ladies here preparing for their families whatever their personal reasons.

  72. Brandy, thank you for the thermal cooker link. I bought the smaller one today. When I explained to my husband the wonderful benefits especially while traveling (hotels do not allow slow cookers), he was all for it. Thank you for the wonderful information you have on here, Brandy. 🙂

  73. Hi Brandy,
    Because all gardening is local to where we live, here is a link to the Nevada planting guide. The vegetable planting dates are on the last page. I live in CA and we have a very good vegetable planting chart that I follow, which is different from other parts of the US. The guide you linked for Territorial might be for their location in the East. This one might be better suited to your Mediterranean climate, or if your local Master gardener program has a chart, that would even be better. . I’m very impressed with the different foods you grow. I grow about half of my vegetables and love it.


  74. Thanks Kim!

    Territorial Seed company is in the Northwest, so yes, that doesn’t apply to everywhere, but it will apply to a lot of people so I thought it was worth sharing.

    I have taken the local gardening classes from the master gardener program. They were very helpful. You can find my garden calendar above under Garden–Garden Calendar. Thanks for the link.

  75. You can make your own maple flavoring with fenugreek seeds. It is on my list to make next. I don’t have it right in front of me and need to leave but do a search for making your own maple flavoring and it won’t be hard to find. It wasn’t hard to make.

  76. I can’t see why it wouldn’t work. They used to make all sorts of chutneys and relishes we’ve never heard of, often out of ‘waste’ food, like watermelon rind relish. You may not like the taste but if you can afford to waste the ingredients, why not try it? Worst-case scenario you throw it out. Or give it as a Christmas present to that one family member you just really can’t stand.

  77. Sam’s carries a large container of Country Time Lemonade. You could maybe use that. The ingredients sound the same. You could make as much or as little as you would like.

  78. I have never considered having a real food storage until this week while reading about what is happening in Greece. It’s too much to even think about. This week I will be working on our 72-hour bags and a list for my pantry. Best case scenario it will just to make me feel better.

  79. I’m still saddened by my Grandmother’s story of how her family had to eat her pet horse during WW2 – I just have to think of that to convince myself it couldn’t hurt to stock up a little.

  80. These stories remind me of the desperate pleas coming from those snowed in during the Buffalo storms this past winter. After 4 days or so many people needed perscriptions, baby formula, diapers etc. It was sad but I can remember thinking how strange it was that just a few days was enough to destroy some very middle class communities.

  81. I tried it about a year and a half ago, and my finished product was weak flavored despite following the “recipe” exactly. I would rather buy it from Penzey’s or King Arthur catalogs, although it is horribly expensive. It is much better flavor and quality, IMO. But if I were on a tighter budget, I might try again. I don’t recall the exact price, but it was not cheap.

  82. We stopped using flavoring and use 1 c brown sugar, 1 c sugar and 1 c water, cook until boiling. Tastes just fine and is much cheaper

  83. Prescriptions are an issue for me. They won’t refill them earlier than 7 days before you run out, and on some control drugs, they won’t refill them until a day or two ahead of time. I wonder if this is store policy or state policies? I need a pain medication daily and while it is not one of the high-powered ones that sell on the streets, it is one they won’t refill very early. This is of concern for me. The only way to “stockpile” would be to skip doses to save up.

  84. We are friends with a nephrologist (kidney doctor) and he highly recommends this particular electrolyte recipe.

  85. My nephrologist friend highly recommends filling a water bottle with water and adding a little lemon juice and a pinch of sugar and salt instead of gatorade.

  86. I read “One Second After” several years ago. It was eye opening. It led me to purchase a two year supply of various types of soap. I was disgusted by the descriptions in the book that had to do with sanitation. But that could become reality if we have an EMP attack and no grid. People just don’t know how to live without electricity these days for extended periods of time. I’m lucky. I do. I lived without electricity for three years as a child and could do it again if necessary. 🙂

  87. This is consistent with the prices I’ve found when I make homemade vanilla extract. I get my beans from Olive Nation when they have coupon codes available.

    I give homemade vanilla as gifts and it is generally well-received and enjoyed. A gift of homemade extract feels luxurious to many but is useful and doesn’t add to clutter in the home.

  88. One thing to keep in mind is California is in a drought. It may not be long before their harvests and groves dry up.

  89. Thanks for the referral. I will definitely check out the book. One Second After is a novel and is supposed to elicit an emotional reaction, but it really did make me think about “what if”. He has a new book coming out in September, One Year After, that sounds like it gets more political, but I still want to read it.

  90. Backwoods Home is a great magazine for self reliant living articles and resources. It is the ONE magazine for which I have a subscription and I live on the outskirts of Baltimore, definitely not in the country. 😀

  91. Marcia – a few years ago I was on a daily prescription and wanted to stockpile for a ‘just in case’ scenario. My pharmacy on this prescription would refill 5 days before the prescription was to run out. So, I just wrote that 5-day ahead date on my calendar and faithfully re-ordered early. Within 6 months, I had an extra 1-month cushion for this prescription. It wasn’t a lot, but it gave me peace of mind.

  92. I also get my vanilla beans from olivenation.com. If you decide to make your own, you can also make other extracts with the vodka. I made lemon and orange extracts by adding the peels to vodka. It takes a long time though. I start them late summer to have them ready for holiday baking. I make a fruitcake for my father every year that uses a whole bottle of lemon extract, so making my own saves quite a bit. I add the orange extract to cakes and frostings, especially for a chocolate orange combination. Here are others you can make with vodka.


  93. Brandy,
    We make our own too, but use brown sugar. Maple syrup makes me queasy, but we just mix brown sugar and water and maple flavoring and boil until the sugar is dissolved. It tastes really good I think.

  94. Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs/A Beginner’s Guide and Making Plant Medicine by Richo Cech are both great reference books for making your own tinctures and growing herbs. Richo Cech is also the founder of Horizon Herbs and sells just about anything you could ever want, as far as herbs are concerned. These might be helpful for those of you who want to learn more about growing, harvesting and using the herbs you have for cooking as well as herbs for medicine.

  95. Brandy-
    I’m very interested to hear more about this topic if you ever want to write about it.
    I live in the Midwest, and so most food we purchase is local (dairy, root vegetables, nearly all vegetables in the summer and fall, and more; we never eat meat, although it can be locally sourced) Our farmers markets now go year-round (selling indoors in the winter, from produce grown in greenhouses. They are not more expensive than our grocery stores, although our grocery store prices are mostly higher than yours). We do get citrus from Florida and some produce (like peaches) from CA; bananas also are trucked in. I choose not to buy any produce grown outside the US because I’m afraid their regulations aren’t followed re pesticides, etc. Our blueberries, apples, pears, etc are grown in the Midwest. Del Monte has many big canning factories nearby, so vegetables, tomato sauce, etc are both grown and canned a couple hours away. They can both under their name, and for many generic store brands. Would you have the same stockpile concern living here?
    Living in 700 square feet, the stockpile is approx 1-3 months worth at any given time. Expecting to move within the year, had actually not been adding to it, but may reconsider if you have new info out there!
    As always, thanks for all the time you generously put into your blog to share with all of us.

  96. As a child mom always made syrup with sugar and Mapeline. That’s how I thought it was made on the kitchen stove !

  97. I agree, they keep telling us to conserve more and more water and limiting to when we can water. It’s only a matter of time before they do dry up and we will be paying higher prices for food. It’s scary times right now. And you never know when a earthquake will happen.

  98. Hi Brandy –

    Thanks again for the huge amount of useful information on your blog! I also appreciate the lovely way it is presented.

    I usually try to stay away from the news, as it seems to cause anxiety and worry out of proportion to the information I obtain. However, when I read this post, I felt a very strong confirmation that I should take your advice seriously, and complete our food storage while we can. Our family is already on a strong path to self-sufficiency, but of course there is always room for improvement. I’d also like to be able to help those around me when possible. I live in Michigan, so drought isn’t a problem, but getting supplies could become difficult, and I’d like to be prepared in case of unemployment.

    Thanks again for your willingness to share your concerns, along with advice and ideas to be more prepared!

  99. I’ve been a longtime fan of your blog Brandy and it’s always a joy to visit here…to see your lovely images and learn from you and your readers. Thanks to you…as well as your readers…for being so generous with your wisdoms, thoughts and life experiences. I always take away something of value after each visit.

  100. A book that may be of interest to some is “Gardening When It Counts” by Steve Solomon, the origional founder of Territorial Seed Company. It has quite a bit about growing vegetables with less water, a section I don’t really need to study, being in rainy Oregon, but might be useful to some of you in dryer regions, if it is available in your library system. I don’t know if it is still in print.

    Another interesting book is “The Pioneer Lady’s Country Kitchen” by Jane Watson Hopping. It is a month-by-month description of what “old-timers’ used to cook, with recipes and little poems and stories. I’ve had it for many, many years, so I don’t know if it’s still out there.

    I’m sure most of you have read “The Encyclopedia of Country Living” by Carla Emory. (Emery?) For those of you who have not, it tells you how to do many, many skills that are very helpful in self-sufficient living–from growing crops to butchering animals, etc. If I could only have 1 “how-to” book, that would be the one.

    We can berry syrup of many kinds. You can get the exact recipe from the National Center for Food Preservation (Google it), but it basically involves juicing out whatever kind of berries you have and adding a lot of sugar to that juice. For us, it is extremely inexpensive–only the cost of the sugar, electricity and canning lids because wild blackberries are always available each summer. We also have raspberries, boysenberries and strawberries here, and sometimes have enough of one of them to make some. I haven’t tried other fruits, but I suppose if you can juice it out, you can make syrup from it. I’ve also used this as gifts for Christmas. Sometimes I put pancake mix from Bob’s Red Mill with it in a basket for people.

    I’m hearing a lot of you saying you feel anxious. Me too. So, here’s what we do (please only choose any idea that works–I know all of them won’t work for all of you) I think that the world is full of things to be anxious about. We cannot control so much around us. Many things that happen are not based on our decisions, but on those of others. So, it’s nice to take the things we can control and at least feel like we are doing Something! I agree with the earlier comment that stated that we will never be sorry if we are prepared for whatever disaster might come our way, the best be we can. My husband and I have talked extensively about this issue. We figure we won’t/can’t do everything right. We can’t collect every single item we may need. We would never be able to hoard things while those we loved went without. I also have many prescriptions that I would be very ill without. So, in a short-term disaster, we would fare well. In a long-term one……..With that being said, we have decided to continue canning, freezing, etc. as we always have (around 1000+ jars per year, plus frozen and dried), keep a good stockpile of foods like canned goods and beans and supplies like canning lids and fabric, but most of all, keep developing skills and collecting really good books that would give us information in the case that we needed to know how to do something we don’t usually do. My husband has added more kinds of meat he knows how to raise and process. Our garden is extensive. Our basement and freezers fill up with home-processed foods galore each summer. We are trying to stay balanced, not give into anxiety about things we cannot control, and remember to add prayer to our list of things we need! Since we can’t do everything right, we try to remind ourselves that anything we have or know puts us in a better place during a natural disaster/crisis then if we had nothing. Once we’ve done what we can do, we choose to not dwell extensively on the “what if’s” because we want to enjoy our life as much as possible at this moment. We also are choosing to trust God to help us through whatever may come our way. Those are some of the ways we deal with the natural anxiety that comes when we hear of the many concerning things that are out there–natural, man-made, unemployment, etc. I’m sure you all have many more good ones.

    With all that being said, I realize I’ve let my water supply run down, so that’s on my “get=-it-soon” list.

  101. Hi Brandy,
    Happy 4th of July.
    I have been working daily in my small garden and it is producing a lot of lettuce. It has been so hot here in the Pacific NW that they are bolting. So, we have salad every day 🙂 Some of my older plants such as kale is not looking good and I will pull these next week and plant new seeds. These plants have lasted well over a year. I will start some fall lettuce by planting seeds this next week as well. I also had planted acorn squash for the Fall and it is thriving well. My zucchini has not produced yet, as I may have started this later but am hopeful that Aug and Sept will have produce. I did plant another row of zucchini seeds a couple of weeks ago and it is coming through well. Since I am still learning how to garden, I have been concentrating on staggering the seedling planting so I can have veggies well into the Fall like you wrote.
    I took an inventory of my pantry so last week I bought a few things to store in bulk. I am receiving lots of berries from the farm share program that I have with a friend’s farm, and so I plan to can jams next week and am freezing some berries for winter time.
    Since my income has been at only 1/3 rd of what it has been since retiring , I am learning to really stop spending. The first couple of months I did overspend and now I really have to decipline myself. So thankful for your teachings on frugality!! You just do not realize how much of a blessing you have been to me.
    I hope your holiday has been fun, We had a simple day of rest and BBQ, then watched the fireworks on TV..
    Have a blessed week
    Patty from the NW

  102. I too have purchased vanilla beans from Olive Nation when on sale and have been pleased with their quality and price. I am, however, considering purchasing vanilla beans next time through Amazon using swagbucks credit to get them for free. This would bring down the price considerably. Another factor is that homemade extract has no water added, so it is stronger than purchased vanilla. With the homemade I only use half the amount in recipes with still good, strong, delicious flavor, which also results in savings compared to purchased. All of the pure vanilla I bought previously had water included in the ingredients list. I have also made it for gifts and all of the recipients were thrilled and have asked for more! The little bit of hands-on time it takes to make vanilla is well worth the effort.
    Brandy, I have read your blog for many years but have never commented. Though I am old enough to be your mother (!) I have learned SO much from you re: frugality, planning, stockpiling, making items, and I love, love your recipes and pictures. Thank you for ALL that you do for this great community of readers.

  103. Marcia, I work at a pharmacy and I can tell you that it is often the insurance that decides when items can be refilled. As long as it is not a control prescription, you could receive all of your refills at once. But you would have to pay for it. Generally, with a control, it is law that it can only be filled two days early. And if a pharmacist sees that you have been consistently filling it early, then can make you wait until the day it is due. I completely understand you wanting to have a “cushion” though. It’s just too bad that some.people ruined it for the honest people!

  104. Laurie, you can make a cheese sauce mix that water is added to and microwave/cook until thickened. Then, use it for pasta, nachos, veggies, anything you want cheese sauce on. Here’s my recipe: Mix together 4 1/2 cups cheese powder, 2 2/3 cups powdered milk (this is the non-instant kind, more if using instant), 2 2/3 cups butter powder (this is optional – I just add a pat of butter when making the sauce as the butter powder is hard for me to find sometimes and expensive), 2 2/3 cups flour and 2 teaspoons onion powder. Mix together and store in an air tight container. (Other herbs/spices could be added if desired). (I also cut this recipe in half). To make the sauce: combine 1 cup water and 1/2 cup cheese sauce mix. Bring to a boil stirring with a whisk; cook a couple minutes to thicken. If desired, sprinkle a little dried parsley on top for color. (If cooking in the microwave, watch to make sure it doesn’t boil over and stir a couple times). Hope this helps you.

    Also, Annabel on her blog The Bluebirds are Nesting will be posting about how to use dehydrated foods. I wrote how I use my dried foods. Hope this helps a bit. Teri

  105. I have also gotten them from olive nation. They were very good quality. I make vanilla sugar, I’ve not tried my own extract, maybe this Christmas? I’ve forgotten my price breakdown though.

  106. Tieraona Low Dog, M.D.’s book [u]Healthy at Home: Get Well and Stay Well Without Prescriptions (published this year) has a recipe similar to Jill’s. Dr. Low Dog suggests using orange juice for flavoring (optional). Between that faux-Gatorade recipe and one for treating red-ant bites, the book paid for itself in 2-3 weeks. I found the book at the library, the bought my own copy to keep in our home reference materials. So, here’s a second endorsement for the recipe Jill posted. 🙂

  107. I also feel unsettled, with a need to put by what I can. I think we only need to look at Greece & Puerto Rico to see why. If your pantry is deeply stocked, you can still feed your family, even if the economy goes nuts & the money needs to go elsewhere. Everyone has “personal disasters” from time to time, & one need not be a prophet to look at the drought in California & say that food prices are going to increase. I ordered some gluten free oatmeal. I have gone back to eating oatmeal with flaxseed for breakfast with a little jam for sweetener. Since my husband needs to eat GF, we both do. It is too hard to try to keep 2 separate pantries & avoid cross contamination issues. I have been dehydrating some sliced rhubarb, along with stewed rhubarb, because whenever I get an upset stomach, either eating rhubarb or putting a frozen cube of rhubarb juice in a glass of water & sipping it helps me feel better in a matter of hours. Space in my freezer being at a premium, I am experimenting with using dried rhubarb slices to be able to make a tisane of sorts for the same purpose. I stocked up on sugar last month when it was on sale, for canning season, & have been putting up quite a bit of the rhubarb, red currant, strawberry jam. We like it, & it goes well on the morning oatmeal, so we can go thru a lot of it. I have two rhubarb crowns, so there is lots of it, & I am trying to steadily put it by. I still have lots of red currant juice from last year in the freezer, too, so no need for pectin.

  108. Brandy, I think they are talking about simple syrup., You can flavor it all kinds of ways. It’s equal parts sugar and water brought to a boil to dissolve the syrup. You can change the ratio to make it thicker so it is more pourable for pancakes. I do it sometimes with berries for fruit syrup, or a spiced syrup etc, the possibilites are endless. Brown sugar would be lovely for pancakes. You can also do the same for flavoring teas, lemon simple syrup, etc.

  109. Brandy,
    I have been thinking a lot about food storage. I keep a food supply for my family in our emergency kit, but I have a tough time thinking through food storage beyond that. If I buy large quantities of things my family would eat in an emergency but there are not things I cook regularly, then do they just go to waste if they expire? I understand you are supposed to cycle out your food storage but if I were to hypothetically buy 25 lbs of beans, do I just start to cook them when they get close to the expiration date? I’m worried I will buy a lot of food that will just get wasted. Please tell me how you store food without waste if an emergency doesn’t come?

  110. Libby,
    I think you ask a very good question.

    First, it’s important to store what your family will eat. No one wants to be unemployed and additionally stressed out while eating food they dislike. Having food your family likes is good.

    I think it’s good to have some options, though. I stored some things that I wasn’t used to cooking. I had some beans but I was used to canned beans. It was cheaper to store dried beans and when we had to live on our storage for more than a year without shopping, I got used to cooking dried beans and found that it was not a problem. Now I no longer purchase canned beans, as dried beans are much cheaper.

    The expiration date on beans is very long. Beans have a shelf life of 30 years. I’m not too worried that they will go bad on me before I can use them.

    For an item like powdered eggs or powdered milk, if you haven’t used them and they are close to the expiration date, you can open them and use them in baking without any waste. Remember that expiration dates are a “best by”–most dates are much longer. Here is some info on long-term storage items: http://ndfs.byu.edu/Portals/9/docs/research/AN%20APPROACH%20TO%20LONGER%20TERM%20FOOD%20STORAGE.JUNE2015.pdf

  111. Sue there is a picture and a link to the dehydrator I have in the right-hand column. I have an excalibur and I am SO happy with it. I have borrowed other ones and I never liked them; stuff always stuck. Nothing stick on these; they are so easy to use, and I never have to rotate the trays, because the fan is in the back of the unit and not on the bottom.

  112. Becky,

    At one point we we hoping to move to Washington state. I bought one of Steve Solomon’s gardening books and it was wonderful. I have not heard of this title. Thank you so much for that recommendation. The third book I have heard of but have never read; I will be looking it up. Thank you for those suggestions.

  113. Patty,

    That fall garden calendar is specifically for your area, so I think it will be a big help for you!

    Thank you for the reminder about the zucchini. In years past I have had better success by direct seeding in July for an October harvest in my area. I was just looking the other day and I don’t have but one plant that has come up! I’d really like to have more so I will try yet again.

  114. Brandy,
    Since you are doing such a great job of growing so many things in the desert, I’d love to see what you could grow in a more termperate climate!!! I’ve always lived in the well-watered part of Oregon, so used to take it for granted. Reading your struggles in the desert has opened my eyes to the “easy” job I have with my garden. But, one trade-off is slugs, another is a shorter growing season…… Every place has it’s ups and downs, but I do feel blessed with the climate where I live. After our trip to Southern California earlier in the summer, I’m once again reminded of how lush and green it is where I live, compared to where we traveled. Moving north would certainly open up new possibilities for you! Hopefully, you can get a few acres as well–that opens up even more options in terms of raising animals, a larger garden, etc. Although our house is really nice right now, in the past we have chosen to live in a mobile home with 5 children so we could have 2 acres for animals and a huge garden. It’s always fun to dream.

  115. I buy beans from Penzey’s. Cost depends on how many you buy. I find that 3 beans is enough for a standard bottle of Jim Beam (750 ml I think). 3 beans is $10 and the bourbon is around $15. Not too bad for a huge bottle of vanilla extract. The price goes down if you buy a bigger quantity. I know you can buy cheap vodka for less, but the bourbon vanilla has always been my favorite. I’m planning to start a new batch to give as Christmas gifts this year. Micheals has nice/inexpensive bottle for packaging. I’ll just buy one or two a week until then for a lovely gift.

    Once the vanilla is done, I’ll dry the pods and make vanilla sugar this time. I had no idea you could do that after making vanilla. Yum!

  116. Thank you so much! I always struggle with what to do with all of the apple scraps when I make apple sauce. My family can only eat so much apple bread from the peels. Haha. This looks very promising.

  117. I pinned some I want to try. Some use orange juice or lemon juice and others use use something like the unsweet Koolaid(I know dyes and chemicals but I pad $1 a bottle with crv when we were sick so I think a few chemicals oh well:) pinterest has lots of diffrent ones posted.

  118. Agreed. I’d love if you did a post on your family’s 72 hour kits. I know there are tons of posts on the web on them already…but not many for families with lots of children (specifically YOUNG children!). We have 5 kiddos ages 4 months to 8 years. I just know there is a lot more to consider when packing an emergency kit for young families.

    I was feeling a little “blah” about food storage last week. I’m running out of shelf space, money is already tight. I started to feel like I was turning into a crazy lady (preparedness isn’t terribly common here in NY). I thought, “I can’t start a 72 hr kit right now. I don’t even have a duffle bag or even backpacks to put anything in!” (Silly, I know). And then an aunt sent over some items left over from a garage sale…including a shelf and a duffle bag. How’s that for answered prayers?! lol!

  119. Thank you for the link! I make my own vanilla all the time but have never considered making any other extracts. Today I plan to go to the bulk area of the grocery store to get more vanilla beans. I have an extra bottle of vodka I need to use. I usually buy my beans from Olive Nation. Their beans are excellent quality, moist and meaty, like raisins. The beans from the grocery store are dry and not the best quality. They are a lot cheaper however. I assume the flavor of the vanilla suffers, but I am not ready to place a large online order.

    I may make another extract instead of buying inferior beans. Thanks for the info!

  120. I have never experienced heat like you have in Las Vegas during summer. Had not previously thought about chocolate chips melting in the car. Guess we learn something new everyday!

  121. With the mysterious NYSE crash/shutdown/hack today and all that’s going on otherwise in the world, I am with you more than ever. Time is running out.

  122. Thank you for voicing your concerns. I too have felt this sense of urgency.
    I wanted to let you know that I grow sweet potatoes not just for the spuds but also for the greens. I live in Phoenix and have had great results with the greens, even in our heat. We use them as a spinach substitute and they are delicious. I have tried other greens in our area and the heat of summer is too much for them. The sweet potato greens love the heat and as a bonus, in the fall we have another crop. Just a side note to anyone reading this, you can’t use regular potato greens, as they are toxic. Again thank you for such wonderful and caring work.

  123. Its really hard for a military family to stock up. Ive had some items break open and sadly had to throw away. They don’t pack anything hazardous or liquids just in case it breaks. Sometimes if you’re lucky on who the packers are they will just do it anyways but they aren’t supposed to.

    Soon though our navy lives will be over and we can finally settle down. I’m excited at our new adventure and can really start a real pantry and garden. At this point it still seems so far away of a dream. But i’m also saddened and have had to accept our new place of living is not the state I would have chosen for personal reasons but I know God has bigger plans than I myself could ever dream up. I just have to trust that He will get us there before things get disastrous, before I have the chance to prepare ourselves so I can take care of my family.

  124. A fiction series that is good in this vein is the Restoration series, by Terri Blackstock. There are 4 books, LAST LIGHT, NIGHT LIGHT, TRUE LIGHT and DAWN’S LIGHT. The power is knocked out by I think a sunspot? It has been a number of years since I first read them so I am fuzzy on that detail. But I do remember just the immediate back-to-the-stone age almost for folks that had no working knowledge of how anything functioned or how to fend for themselves. People had to learn to work together, to pool talents and resources, what little they had. They had to learn to plant for food, how to hand dig a well, how to defend their person and property. Most libraries should have these…she is a popular Christian fiction author.

  125. SJ, congratulations on making such a like minded friend. Best luck with your canning sessions.

  126. I came across an article on a homemade solar dehydrator and I don’t remember where. I had wanted to mention it here. It was a box, on a slant with screen trays…that’s all I remember.

  127. I live in Houston too, and I am curious where those of you who live in hot climates store your stuff? I store paper products in the garage, but I feel the heat would reduce the shelf life of everything else!

  128. We have Delmonte around here also. Though I am not sure what is going on with them as they bought up several plants, then closed them, citing consolidation.

    You could be describing our area exactly. We grow all we can and like to buy local. I also avoid food from other outside the US, except for Canada. If we don’t have enough for canning for my estimate for the year, I buy off roadside food stands, trade with relatives and friends, our excess for theirs.

    I do have a well stocked pantry anyways. It was the way I was raised. I think even though we live in a very productive area, we need to fend for ourselves and our families and be pro-active as regarding food and other supplies. Someone in another post mentioned they stocked up on hygiene supplies…I have at the moment at least 120 bars of the soaps we like. It doesn’t matter if it is aged…in fact it will last longer that way. My grandma used to do that and I believe her.

  129. Marivene, I took your idea of putting frozen rhubarb chunks in the ice water. I did that yesterday and today for my ice water I took to work. It was delicious and then I ate the rhubarb, too. I still have rhubarb so I am going to pull some more stalks and cut them in larger chunks than I normally do for freezing and then make sure they freeze individually so I can shake them out of the bag.

  130. Brandy,

    I’m planning to increase our food storage with $25.00 from each pay period. What would you purchase first? I bought 50 lbs of rice and 6 lbs of peanut butter this time. Thank you for your posts, I look forward to each new one and have learned much from you.

  131. You might consider buying raw peanuts to grow, not only for the health benefits and frugality, but for preparedness. I have not yet grown them, but there is a lot of info on YouTube and online.

    I also make my own syrup. I use vanilla extract and it’s quite delicious. I do use about 1 TBS of corn syrup per 1 C water/2 C sugar–it helps to prevent crystallization.

  132. Well, I took your advice to heart. I started a stockpile and bought white and brown sugar, a case of pasta, chicken boullion,a case of tomato puree( we grow onions), and powdered milk. Next I’ll get oats, beans, oil, flour, and salt. I already have two pounds of yeast, so that is fine.

  133. I only put two beans, cut in half, in an entire bottle of vodka, which was $6 at the time I bought it. Just getting down to the last of it, three years later. It smells like vanilla, which is good enough for me. The beans were also $12 for a jar of 2, but I did scrape the seeds out and used that for something else. I plan on putting in more vodka, which will bring the price of each bottle down to $12. Which isn’t really a bad price for real vanilla. But if you’re worried about cost you can always buy a big bottle of imitation vanilla for a couple dollars.

  134. Brandy,
    Another easy, cheap way to help a sick person rehydrate is to follow this recipe:
    6 level teaspoons sugar : 0.5 teaspoon salt (with sodium chloride) : 1 quart fluid (approx. 1 litre)

    It’s very simple but it’s great if you don’t have gatorade power handy for replacing electrolytes! You can also add in citrus juice or honey for an additional boost!

  135. I bought a pint bottle from Atlantic Spice Co. years ago, and I’m only halfway through it. San Fran Herb carries it, too. I’ve been making my own syrup for years, and interestingly enough, several of my children prefer it over real maple syrup. I boil 2 cups of sugar with 1 cup of water and a drizzle of molasses (I got it on clearance a few years back and stocked up–you could sub brown sugar) for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add 1/2 t. each of vanilla extract and maple flavoring. Cool with lid on to reduce crystallization.

  136. To Jenny – If I was starting from scratch, I’d suggest writing out a shopping list for your favorite breakfast and favorite dinner made from pantry ingredients. For me, my favorite pantry breakfast is oatmeal and maple syrup. My favorite dinner is Brandy’s Taco Soup served over rice. So then, I’d go buy the ingredients for those two meals: oatmeal, salt, maple syrup, beans, diced tomatoes, spices and rice.

    Even if you start with just two extra meals in your pantry, you’ll be ahead of a lot of people. Repeat with a different breakfast and dinner menu for the next 6 pay days. You’ll soon have a big enough pantry to feed yourself for a week. You’ll have variety and complete meals. That’s a great start.

  137. Marcia,
    Vitamin C is a great pain med. If someone has a headache we take 3 or 4 thousand units. I have a bum knee which hurts when the weather changes. I take 4000 units it works better than pain meds. I buy the big bottles of 1000 units at Costco when they go on sale.Salon Pas patches (topical) are good for small areas. Costco sells them and Wal-Mart too. Hope this helps someone.

  138. We have used Raspberry tea bags for Styes. They really help heal them quickly. One book I refer to frequently is the PRESCRIPTION for NUTRITIONAL HEALING 2nd edition by James F. Batch, M.D. I found my copy at a garage sale. This book has saved us many trips to the doctor.

  139. Athanasia, I don’t use frozen rhubarb chunks. I stew the rhubarb & then strain for the juice, & freeze that in cubes. If it works for you that way, great! Chinese herbal medicine uses rhubarb for stomache issues, & early pioneer journals say it cured cholera. Perhaps that is why so many pioneers brought such a sour food across the plains to an area where there was not a high probability of sugar being handy!

  140. I have always thought about making vanilla both for myself and for gifts. Thanks to everyone’s comments here, I am going for it. Just placed an order for 25 beans from Olive Nation since I am not sure about starting with a pound. Right now, shipping is free and there is this 20% off coupon code: [b]202015[/b]. 25 beans came to $17.56. And they take paypal, so I used some of my ebay profits. Sweet!

  141. about 35 or 36 or so yrs ago we lived in Rapid City South Dakota and i had started my storage about a yr before that but at that time there was a trucker’s strike oh my i just thought perhaps i would go pick up an item for storage that was amazing there were nothing on the shelves but some not much dog food and vanilla I was grateful for storage and mind you that was back when stores kept more product now they have three days worth unless there was a huge emergency in which they have 24 hrs food for thought…also age and unemployment huge factor if your job still holding that is good if not and you are forty or older very hard to get employment….I know this happened to us 59 yrs old the cut backs kept coming till right before the end we were working for only ins no money thank goodness for storage i know a family in forty range willing to accept half as much and still no job after a yr horror stories i have lived and heard about them so keep working at it and so do i tho i have to say it is getting harder with fibromyalgia and 59 but i keep pushing on..over the yrs for mothers day instead of flowers i would ask for fruit trees and grape and rasp plants that are now continuing to bless us with food.
    becky in central Ia

  142. love your comment when you mentioned jars i remember wanting to mention how i have collected mine over the years…. yard sales..when they were cheap enough I saw some yesterday at goodwill reg canning jars they wanted a dollar a piece wow that is not a good deal….they will have them for a long while considering you can buy new with lids and rings for less. but i have gotten some Freecycle but really the best way was mention you were looking for jars at church and of course we live in a small rural town i put a note on the board at the post office even got some from the post master so don’t rule out puting up a note that you are looking for free canning jars. The lther thing is when you get your groceries pick up a pkg or two of lids less strain then buying all at once.

    becky in central iowa

  143. i dry spinach and my sister in Minnesota dries kale we both keep a jar in the kitchen to throw in soups or casseroles sooooo handy.

    becky in central iowa

  144. once you start looking at what you eat you will see storage opportunities i have the best recipe for choc cake from way before we had kids i always store the ingredient to make that cake so things might be going bad financially all around us i would make this choc cake and somehow things seemed not so dire

    Wendy DeWitt has a site everything under the sun if you look at her method it is what i suggest to people who are just starting it was like Brandy said. So if your family eats spaghetti once a week you would start storing those things if you want a years supply and your weekly spaghetti you make a lb od spaghetti noodles you would take one lb x fifty two weeks she has this broke down to even the salt you put in the water..I feel like if you store things to make bread that is huge i store my yeast in the freezer and keep a qt jar in frig i’ve never had a problem using it directly from either place. Once i used her egg substitute of unflavored gelatin on her site to make oatmeal raisin cookies for a class at church i did one batch using the one egg and the same recipe using the gelatin sub and no egg I litterally had to mark the bottom of the plate they were identical in every way so then i now store a gallon jar of unflavored gelatin which lasts for ever in my storage and everything it takes to make cookies …i went thru my recipe file and started a food storage binder of our recipes looking for the ones that if i did not have eggs or cheese just to see if i had any at all to my surprise i had very many family favorite recipes now of course i can meat and that helped tremendously but we treat storage like a huge pantry we eat it every day this sounds like what Brandy does too so we don’t have to worry if we will like it or it would go to waste we like it i know you can buy the dry eggs and cheese and i would love to but money prohibits it for us i do freeze eggs two to a bag but i am trying to not “put them all in one basket” hee hee here in Ia we have been hit hard same with Mn with the bird flu this wipes out the whole chicken and turkey farms if they can even do so it will take six months to get established their fear is what happens every six months yep migrating birds…..eggs are higher then i have ever seen. Not saying they can’t go higher yet just higher then i have seen. So go thru your recipes you will be surprised .

    becky in central Ia

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