Food Storage: Evaluate & Adjust

Howdy all! Wanna hear something shocking? My Food Storage Plan is not perfect for all people. Wanna hear an even bigger shocker? My plan is not even perfect for me! *gasp!* πŸ™‚ That’s right. You heard me. I can admit when I have a problem, and sometimes ‘over-organizing’ myself is a problem (COD, remember?!). That’s why this step of the plan is so important. This is Step 7: Evaluate & Adjust. As we go through the steps to put our food supply together and start putting our plan into practice, we will likely notice bits and pieces of it that need to be adjusted. It is important that you make adjustments when and where needed! Why? Because if you don’t, you will not ‘enjoy’ the process and will want to quit.

So after evaluating my process thus far, I have realized that The Plan feels a little bit too structured for me. I’m generally a ‘structure’ type of gal, and for the most part I like the way The Plan is laid out. But when it comes to staying on top of having exactly ’62 cans of corn’ and ’18 jars of pasta sauce’, it can get a little overwhelming and stressful. My problem is that when I use a can of corn or green beans, I don’t like to put just one can of corn on my shopping list. Why? Because generally when I go to the store, I don’t have time to go up and down every single aisle to pick up one can of corn here and one jar of pasta sauce there… I end up trying to run around the whole store for little items everywhere. It gets to be annoying and so the process is starting to fall through the cracks.

So now I need to adjust. What can I do so that this structure doesn’t overwhelm me into giving up? One thing I’ve thought of is that I need to give myself some more breathing room. I know I have 10 ‘flex’ days a month already accounted for as part of the plan (days that don’t have an actual dinner planned for them but are covered by ‘extra’ long-term supplies), but maybe I can give myself more days than that (without changing my meal numbers that are listed in The Plan) so that I don’t feel so pressed to immediately restock the items I have used.

What I’m thinking I’d like to do is to purchase even more of my ‘extras’ (extra extras, if you will… particularly extra freeze-dried meals) to allow for more like 15 days or so of flex each month, but still keep my List Numbers (the number of ‘regular’ meals that I prepare for) the same. This way, my List Numbers become more like guidelines instead of rigid, set in stone, ‘thou shalt have 62 cans of corn’ type rules. (I’m not sure this is making any sense to you as I try to put words to it.) But basically, what it comes down to is that I’ll buy even more of the wheat, rice, freeze-dried meals, etc that have a very long shelf life, and then if I forget to add some items to my shopping list and have only 56 cans of corn and 14 jars of pasta sauce *gasp* it won’t be the end of the world. My extra extras are acting like a safety net. And then the next time I do my inventory (which I will probably need to do more often now), I will see that I am getting low on corn and pasta sauce, I’ll add the needed numbers to my shopping list and go purchase them… bringing me back up to my 62 cans and 18 jars. Still structured, but with breathing room. I think I like it. πŸ™‚

So anyway, if at any point you feel like you are getting behind in, or not enjoying your food storage efforts, take a minute to sit down and evaluate your plan. Are there any adjustments that need to be made?
You’ll probably need do this several, if not many, times throughout your process… and that’s okay! It’s a good thing! Anything that improves the process for you is worth the effort.
Best of luck in all your efforts!

Photo courtesy of brokenarts

Food Storage: Purchasing The Food

Alright. It’s time to move on to the next step of “The Plan”, and that is… drum roll please… PURCHASING THE FOOD! This is where it starts to get real, people. We’ve got our ‘year supply’ down on paper, but now we’re going to start putting it on our shelves.
So what does that mean?! It meeeeans… it’s time to go SHOPPING!! Woohoo! This is so exciting! πŸ˜€

Alright. This is how it works…
First, you need to do an initial inventory of your food. (Use List #3 for this.) So, taking your ‘Master Inventory List’, go through all your food and write down how much you have and then how much you still need to get for each item. (And try not to get depressed if it starts looking like a lot. :))
Next you need to decide how much time you want to give yourself to acquire the needed items. If you are on a very limited budget, or a fixed income with barely any extra to spare, you’ll want to give yourself a longer amount of time. If you’ve got a decent budget to work with, challenge yourself to get it done fairly quickly. Either way, this part is completely adaptable to your situation.
Then we’re going to break our ‘items needed’ amounts into chunks… we’ll call them ‘Chunk Lists’. The number of Chunk Lists will be determined by how quickly you are trying to accomplish this. If you are giving yourself one year, you will break your list up into 12 chunks (because there are 12 months). Two years would be 24 chunks. 6 months is 6 chunks. You get the idea. How you break the list down is up to you. But here’s something to consider: try not to buy the full amount of what you need for a specific item all at the same time (i.e. if you need 50 cans of chili, don’t buy all 50 in the same month) because then they will all expire at the same time. For me personally, I like to break the list down by taking smaller amounts from each item where there are large amounts needed and dividing them among my Chunk Lists. For the items with small amounts needed, it’s probably easier to just do them all at the same time. Dividing and purchasing this way also helps you to have a more well-rounded food storage at all times. So if you were to need to rely on your food storage 3 months into this, you’re not stuck with only chili to eat… you’ve got a little bit of everything collected so far. Make sense?
And here’s a helpful way to make your Chunk Lists… just get one piece of paper for each month you’re giving yourself and lay them out in front of you. Write the name of each month at the top, and just start dividing and writing down your items. Spread them out evenly across your lists (so no single month is overloaded) and just keep going until you have all ‘needed items’ accounted for. For items that tend to go on sale seasonally throughout the year, put those items on the months they’re most likely to be on sale (so I might divide the bulk of my chili up across the winter months). Easy enough?
Alright. And finally, the last part is to GO SHOPPING! Sweet. Now there are several ways you can accomplish this. Most obviously, you can just take your Chunk List for the current month with you each time you go to the store and pick up some of the items until you’ve got them all purchased for that month. But that can be a little dull and boring. Why not make it fun?! So here’s an idea for you… make a ‘Food Storage Shopping Date’ for yourself! Set the date for once a month. If you’ve got young kids, LEAVE THEM AT HOME WITH HUBBY (or a babysitter, or a neighbor)! This is YOUR day/night/afternoon (whenever) for just you and your beloved food storage. (I know you’ve started dreaming about food storage by now, right? :)) Don’t do your regular weekly/restocking shopping at this time (unless you have to). Take just your Chunk List and then take your time going up and down each aisle, doing price comparisons, checking out the nutritional facts, checking the expiration dates… you know, all those things you never have time to do because your toddlers are in a screaming match at the top of their lungs and you’re racing to see how quickly you can get out of the store. (What?! Your kids scream in the store?! Not MY kids… they’re total angels! I always have all the time I want.) πŸ˜€ Um, ya. So like I said… it’s just you and the food. And then when you’re done, you’ve got your Chunk List done for the month and you had a nice little getaway. (Don’t forget to pick up a chocolate bar for yourself while you’re at it.) πŸ™‚

And that’s it! Just keep going… each month pull out your new Chunk List and just keep chipping away at them until you’ve got them all done! And when that happens, I think it’s definitely time to throw yourself a ‘Congratulations- I’ve Got My Year Supply’ party. You’ve earned it. πŸ˜‰

*But just remember, this will only result in a full year’s supply as long as you continue to replenish what you’re using on a regular basis. These Chunk Lists do not take the place of your regular shopping lists. They are in addition to them. So make sure that each time you pull out a jar of pasta sauce, you write ‘pasta sauce’ back on your weekly/regular shopping list in order to restock your used items. And then don’t forget to keep up with your inventories as well. 2-4 times a year and you’re good.Β Good luck! And HAVE FUN SHOPPING!

Wow. That’s the end of “The Plan”. I feel a little sad. 😦 *tear* No worries… there will be lots more fun adventures to come! For pete’s sake… we still have to talk about ORGANIZING the food. You KNOW good times are ahead now! πŸ™‚

Feature Friday: Getting Dinner Organized

Howdy all. Sorry this is a little slow in getting posted. It’s just been one of those days! πŸ™‚
But I wanted to quickly share with you a menu planning calendar that I came up with. This can help relieve that stress of always wondering ‘what am I going to make for dinner tonight?’.
Just take a few minutes to sit down and plan your menu for the week (or even your whole month if you’d like!) and then you don’t have to worry about it each day. πŸ™‚ And if some meals need extra ingredients from the store, just add them to your shopping list and then you know that you’ve already got everything it takes to make all your meals that week/month.
Another method that may work better for some people is to go ahead and write the meals down for the week, but then feel free to switch the days up. So it’s more like having a pool of options to pick from. You know you’ve got the ingredients for the meals on the list, so you can just pick whichever one you’re in the mood for. Then just cross it off and then next day you pick from the remaining meal options until you’ve used them all.
This is also helpful for keeping track of what meals you’re making and how often (refer to List #4) and for remembering which ingredients/items need to be restocked.
Anyway, it’s a pretty self explanatory calendar. “M” is for Main Dish, “SD1” is for your first side dish, and if you’re super ambitious in the kitchen and like to have two side dishes, there’s a spot for that one too (“SD2”).
Just click on the image and save it to your computer or there’s a pdf file at the end. Enjoy.

And here’s the PDF file for anyone who would like to just use that:Β Monthly Dinner Menu

Food Storage: Organizing The Plan

Alright. It’s been two weeks. Do you have all your recipes?
Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t have them all yet. Just give yourself another week and dedicate some time to it. I’ve got mine pretty much done, but I think I’ll likely end up tweaking some of the numbers as the year(s) go on. But THAT’S OKAY! That’s one of the beauties of this Β process– it grows with you! Don’t be afraid to start because you feel like your recipes or numbers are not exactly right or perfect. You can change things as you go. Just START with SOMETHING!

Okay, so that being said… we’re moving into the organization phase of our plan. (Woohoo!) Getting organized is one of my favorite parts of food storage. I love organization! Sometimes I start a new hobby just so that I can organize things! (Yes, I’m checking into therapy next week.) Part of my organization freakishness is that I love making lists and seeing everything laid out in front of me. For me it helps to eliminate confusion (or reduce it anyway). So, for this process, I have been working on making 4 lists. Each list kind of builds of the previous one and takes us to the next step of information we’re looking for. You may look at the lists and think some are unnecessary, or could be done in your head… and definitely feel free to do so if that’s better for you! But again, for me, I like to see it all laid out in front of me so I can easily reference different bits of information. I’m not done with all of the lists yet, but I created at least the structure of each one in order to give you a visual of what we’re doing. So here we go…

List #1: The Food Storage Menu List
This has each meal from our collected recipes listed, including how many times per month we will make it (I switched to doing all of my meals in a monthly format… it worked better for me that way. Sorry if that confuses anyone!!), and then how many times per year we will make it. (I actually did these lists in Excel so I could set the program to automatically do the math for me. If you’re good in Excel, I would definitely recommend using it to save some time. :))
Example:

Here’s the full .pdf of this list if it will help anyone (since I’m only using the first pages of these lists as an example):Β Food Storage Menu List

List #2: The Recipe : Ingredient List
This one is a doozy! It’s where I’m stuck trapped still working right now. πŸ˜€ This has each recipe broken down into its ingredients, with the amount of each ingredient needed per meal, and then the amount needed per year.
So you’re essentially writing all your recipes out (minus the directions), and once you have the amount per meal written down, you take that number and multiply it by the number of times you’re making that meal in a year (this number comes from List #1). And you do this for each ingredient in the recipe. (Hopefully the example will help clear up those question marks I see over your head. :))
Example:

So if we look at pancakes, I’ve got all my ingredients listed along with how much of each ingredient I need for one meal. Then from List #1, I know that I make pancakes 96 times in a year. So I will multiply the amount of each ingredient needed for one meal by 96 in order to get how much of each ingredient I need for a whole year of pancakes. Make sense?
Okay moving on.

List #3: The Master Inventory List
This list is our ‘Grand Finale’ list. The main reason for the other lists is so that we can get the information on this list. On this list we’re combining all ‘same’ ingredients from List #2 in order to get our grand total amount needed of a specific ingredient/item and then we’ll list them alphabetically for easy reference. So, for example, I have sugar used in several recipes, and on this list I want to know how much sugar I need total for the year in order to cover ALL of my recipes that use it. For each ingredient/item, we’ll also list each recipe it is used in. Then, you’ll also see on the list that twice a year, we can do a total inventory of all our food storage items to make sure we’re fully stocked or to see how much we still need to buy. Ideally, once you take an item from your food storage, you should immediately write it down on your shopping list so that it can be restocked. But I know I occasionally forget to do that (or dear Hubby, bless his heart, frequently forgets as well), so this bi-annual “check up” will help me find anything that has slipped through the cracks and get me back on track.
Also, one tip about this list, when you’re combining the amounts for a certain ingredient, they may often be in different measurement forms (i.e. teaspoon vs. tablespoon vs. cups). Make sure you convert them into matching forms to be able to add them together. (I may take some time to explain this further next week.)
Example:

(And like I said, I’m still working on List #2, so this list is not complete and was just a quick draft I put together to use as an example.)

List #4: Monthly Meal Tracker
This list is designed to help us rotate through our food storage fairly accurately. It’s a list of each meal on List #1 (I just copied and pasted from one list to the other… for heaven’s sake do not type these all out again if you can help it! :)) with how many times each month we’re ‘scheduled’ to make that meal. Then there’s a spot to make a tally mark in the appropriate month for each time we make the meal. I don’t necessarily plan to follow my scheduled numbers spot on and make everything the exact number of times I’m supposed to (i.e. I’m sure I’ll eat soup more in the winter and less in the summer… same with oatmeal), but by using this list I can see if I’m really falling behind on any certain meal and need to start making it more. This list will also help me determine if I need to eventually tweak my numbers. For example, I have pancakes down for 8 times a month. But let’s say that after several months or a year, I find that I’m consistently making pancakes 10 times a month. Well, then I can bump that number up and reduce the number on a meal I’m not eating as often. And then I can adjust my other list numbers as well to reflect the new change and gradually adjust my food storage items. So you’ll really get a more accurate idea of what your family eats, and how often, as you keep a tally on this list.
You could also use this list as a basis for your shopping list, but I’ll explain that more when we get to that phase. πŸ™‚
Example:

So anyway, there you have it! My organization of ‘The Plan’. …or at least the beginning of it. There will be more lists to come (seriously… I have list issues). Once this part has sunk in and that brain numbing dizziness has worn off we will then tackle how to go about actually collecting all this food. πŸ˜€ That will probably be in about another two weeks (I think it will take me that long to recover). So until then, good luck on these lists and don’t burn yourself out! Just do a little at a time and work on it when you can. I did a lot of this written out by hand initially so that I could work on it while I was watching the kiddos outside or something. And then I’ve just been transferring to the computer. Anyway, obviously do what works for you. But again, good luck. πŸ˜€

Food Storage: Multiply and Replenish

While we’re working on collecting our recipes (you’re remembering to collect those, right?), I wanted to give you some insight into where we’re headed with them so that you can tweak the numbers as suited to your tastes and needs.

The next step after we’ve collected our recipes is going to be to multiply the ingredients in them based on the amount of times we’ll need to make that recipe in a year. “Huh?”

It’s easy peasy! Let me just explain it like this… For me, I’m collecting 7 breakfast recipes because I want to have a different breakfast every day of the week, and those 7 recipes equal one full week of breakfast. Well, there are 52 weeks in a year, so I know that in order to have those 7 breakfasts all year long, I will need to multiply each breakfast recipe 52 times. Make sense? Let’s do a hands on example:

Let’s say I have cereal as one of my breakfast meal options, and my family eats about 4 cups of cereal in one breakfast (I have no clue, I’m just guessing right now) along with 2 cups of milk on that cereal for everyone. Then I’ll do some simple math (of course, my simple math involves a calculator) :D…

4 cups of cereal (breakfast for one day of the week) x 52 (weeks) = 208 cups
2 cups of milk x 52 = 104 cups

Alright. So that means that to have cereal once a week for a full year, I need to have 208 cups of cereal and 104 cups of reconstituted milk. (Starting to make sense?) Taking that to the next level, now I just need to know how many cups of cereal are in a box… let’s just say 10 because I’m too lazy to go check right now. So then for our cereal we divide 208 (which is the number of cups we need) by 10 (the amount of cups in a box), which equals 20.8 (we’ll round up to 21). For the milk I need to know how many cups can be made from a #10 can of powdered milk. Let’s just guess 30, because again… too lazy. πŸ˜€ Divide 104 by 30 and that gives us roughly 3.5. So our hypothetical numbers are that I need to keep 21 boxes of cereal and 3.5 cans of powdered milk on hand in order to have cereal once a week for a full year. Do you see where I’m going with this?

Perhaps cereal was a bad example to start with because you’re not using a whole box in one sitting. Let’s do one more easy one. Spaghetti dinner. Ingredients: 1 lb of spaghetti, 1 jar of pasta sauce.
So if I were going to have spaghetti once a week for a full year, I would multiply:

1 lb spaghetti noodles x 52 (weeks) = 52 lbs spaghetti noodles
1 jar pasta sauce x 52 (weeks) = 52 jars pasta sauce

So I would need 52 lbs of spaghetti noodles and 52 jars of pasta sauce. See? EASY! πŸ™‚

So what you need to decide is how many times you want to be repeating your meals. If you only want 7 dinners and have each one once a week for the 52 weeks of the year, you only need to collect 7 dinner recipes. If you want a 2 week variety, you would need 14 dinner recipes. And while we’re on the topic, I’ll go ahead and explain why I chose the number of recipes to collect that I did:

I chose 7 breakfasts and lunches because I don’t need a lot of variety for those meals (in fact, 7 is stretching it… I’m sure I’ll double some of those up) and also because 7 is an easy number to work with (as we’ve just gone over) because it represents one week, so I just need to multiply everything by the 52 weeks in a year.

Dinner, however, is where I go a little crazy on you. For dinner I chose 20 recipes. Twenty seems like such an odd number to choose. It’s not a multiple of 7 and 365 is not divisible by it… so why 20? Okay, here’s my logic. I like a lot of variety at dinner. And since I know I am going to be using my food storage on an everyday basis (and then simply restocking) I did not want to be having the same 7 meals over and over, or even the same 14 meals over and over. So… instead of working on a weekly rotation, I am using a monthly rotation. (And yes, I’m aware that months have more than 20 days! Bare with me. :)) So instead of taking one week of recipes and multiplying by the 52 weeks, I’m going to take one month of recipes and multiply by the 12 months. However, along with my basic comfort food recipes, I like to experiment with new meals as well. This would present a problem if I’m trying to calculate in advance how much I need for a year. SO! What I do is this… I plan on a month being 30 days. I have 20 recipes that I keep as my standard and keep those ingredients stocked. But that’s going to leave me with 10 unprepared for days in each month. These 10 days are where I can experiment, or I can have my big fresh green salad that I love, or my chili baked potato bar that aren’t completely food storage friendly meals. And then, if I find myself in a crisis situation and needing to last a whole year on just my food storage, this is where my extra long-term supply food comes in handy. (Remember that part of my ultimate goal is to have extra of things like rice, wheat, beans, etc in those nice #10 cans that lasts for.ev.er?) I figure my family and I can deal with 10 dinners a month of rice and beans if we absolutely had to… especially since we’d be having things like pancakes for breakfast and peanut butter sandwiches for lunch. πŸ™‚ Uh, ya… I think we could definitely get by! So that’s why I said to not despair! We will not be living our whole life out of cans in order to be prepared! We can still enjoy our yummy fresh fruits and vegetables while they are available to us! So anyway, for me that would mean that for my 20 food storage friendly dinner recipes, I would multiply each of those by 12 and call it good.

Did that confuse the heck out of anyone?? Definitely feel free to simplify that dinner part if it will work better for you!! And something else to consider is that you frequently have a dinner meal more than one time in a month. We probably have spaghetti 2-3 times in a month, so spaghetti would count as 2 (or 3) of those 20 meals. Some families have pizza once a week. Well, that’s 4 of your meals right there. So don’t stress about having to find 20 unique recipes if you don’t want. Just plan according to how your family eats! Also, feel free to change these numbers up now that you know the logic behind them. If you don’t like to experiment much on meals, bump your ’20’ recipes up to ’25’ (or even higher) and still just multiply those all by 12. Just leave yourself some breathing room for all those recipes you enjoy that didn’t make it onto the food storage friendly list. πŸ™‚

Alright. Enough of that for now. Next week we’ll look at how to organize all of our information. (YEA for organization!!)
Oh, and if anyone is really confused by this, please feel free to contact me and I can email you or even call you to explain it one-on-one. Sometimes I know that what makes total sense in my head doesn’t come out completely coherent to someone else. πŸ™‚ So anyway, good luck ya’ll and keep working on those recipes. πŸ™‚

Food Storage: Gathering Everyday Recipes

Okay, I feel like within the last week or two we’ve covered a lot of ground really fast. It might be starting to feel a little whirlwind-ish at this point. Ya? So I’m going to take it down a notch and let us breathe for a second. Β *breathe. in. out.* Β Ah. Much better. Okay, jumping back in! Just kidding. πŸ™‚ Today will be an easy one. We’re finally getting to the “doing” part of our food storage plan. Not that we weren’t doing stuff before, but it was more philosophical, in our head type stuff (although hopefully your goals and plan are written down somewhere!). So now we start putting things into action… we get to Implement The Plan! This is where it gets fun. (I have a warped sense of fun… I know.) πŸ˜‰

Today let’s look at the first short-term goal on our plan (well, my plan anyway). Let’s see… it was collecting ‘everyday recipes’ to make those ‘everyday meals’.
For this, I like to break my meals down by category. I’ll get some breakfast recipes, lunch, dinner, and let’s not forget snacks and desserts (for pete’s sake! DON’T forget the desserts!!).
Now, in each category, I’m just going to start listing some of my family’s favorite everyday meals.

Breakfast: we like cereal most days, pancakes quite often, waffles, occasionally oatmeal, occasionally french toast… and geez, I think that about covers it!

Lunch: Hmm… I hate lunch. I never know what to fix. Peanut butter sandwich? Anyone anyone? Ya, that’s what it usually ends up being (my poor, deprived daughters!) What else? Grilled cheese sandwiches, mac & cheese, leftovers, ramen, (wow… this is starting to sound like ‘confessions of the nutritionally deficient mother’… hey, I throw some carrots and apples in there too!). Perhaps I should stop there for now.

On to Dinner: We have a plethora of favorites here. Spaghetti; Chicken Broccoli Casserole; Beef Stroganoff; Chicken Penne Sun-Dried Tomato Alfredo; Quesadillas; a nice big salad; Chicken Enchiladas; Beef Enchiladas; Broccoli Beef; many Asian-themed meals; Chili Baked Potatoes; Soup on a nice cold night; and on and on.

When you get a chance, go ahead and write down as many of your family’s favorites that you can think of. (I like to do this while I’m maybe sitting and watching the kids play, or zoning out in front of the tv. I’m a multi-tasker like that. ;))
Now what we need to do is look at the recipes for each of the meals on our list. Which of them can be made using only shelf stable ingredients or ingredients stored in the freezer? If they can be made with completely shelf stable ingredients, I put a little (SS) next to the title. If they can be made from a combination of shelf stable and freezer stored foods, I put a little (E) next to the title (‘E’ for ‘Electricity Needed’). If it requires ingredients that do not meet one of these two categories, it gets crossed off. (There goes my nice big salads along with the baked potato bar.) NOT that it means I can no longer make these meals!! Heavens sakes! I’ll explain how these recipes can still fit in later.
Helpful Tips To Consider: Think outside the box. Some recipes that appear to not be food storage friendly can be easily tweaked and be perfectly suited to your food storage. Another thing to consider is that by adding certain ingredients to your pantry, you can also increase your food storage menu options (i.e. having things like powdered milk and powdered eggs means I can make a lot more recipes completely shelf stable.)

So now that we know what we’re looking for, our challenge is to gather 7 breakfast, 7 lunch, and 20 dinner food storage friendly, family favorite recipes, with at least half of them in each category being completely shelf stable recipes. (I’ll explain the reasoning for the numbers next week when we get started on the next step of the plan and you can change them then if you’d like. In the meantime, just go with it. :))
And since this is a goal, I’m going to give myself a deadline to get this accomplished by. I think I’ll give myself two weeks. Not that I can’t sit and write down a bunch of menu ideas in just an hour or so, but I want to give myself time to try out and test several recipes before I just add them to my list. I want to make sure my list is fully comprised of ‘family approved’ meals before I go purchasing tons of ingredients to make them for a whole year! (I know… I’m smart. I went to college. :))
You can download and print this page to help organize your process:
Food Storage Menu List

Alrighty then. Start flipping through those cookbooks and recipe cards and we’ll check this list in two weeks! Good luck.

Food Storage: Developing “The Plan”

Okay, last week we set our Ultimate Food Storage Goal. Now we need to develop a plan in order to be able to attain that goal. Now, since your Ultimate Goal may differ from mine, you will want to adjust this step to match your goal. But since I’m working around my goal, I will show you “The Plan” as it pertains to me. And if you’re on the same path as me, well then by all means just use this same plan!

So to recap: my Ultimate FS Goal is that I want a full year supply of everyday meals (at least 6 months of that is to be completely shelf-stable), some additional long-term food storage items, along with a 3 month supply of water.
So what do I need to do to get there?Β (Oh heavens, if you only knew how many “Dora, The Explorer” quotes just popped into my head to answer that question :)… those of you without 2-3 year old daughters probably have no idea what I’m talking about. Count your lucky stars!) Sorry, getting off topic. So let’s start with the everyday meals part.

  • Okay, well I guess I need some ‘everyday recipes’ (shelf-stable or freezer food type recipes) in order to make those ‘everyday meals’ I’m aiming to store.
  • Next I need to figure out how many times I’m going to make those ‘everyday meals’ in a years time.
  • Then I’m going to need to determine the amount of needed ingredients in order to make those meals for their given number of times. (Is this starting to sound abstract to you? Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to clarify as we go. It will make perfect sense… promise!)
  • From that information (the needed ingredients) I will create a ‘Master Inventory List’ that tells me how much of each food item I should have in my food supply at all times in order to constitute a ‘year supply’.
  • Next I’ll need to compare that master list to what I’ve already got at home on my shelves. Whatever ingredients I’m lacking will then become my ‘Food Storage Shopping List’.
  • Then I need to divide that list (the FS Shopping List) up into small chunks (number of chunks will be determined by how quickly I want to have my year supply purchased) so that each time I go to the grocery store, I can just take one of those ‘chunks’ with me and add it to my shopping list… making sure that I’m purchasing these items in addition to everything that’s already on my regular shopping list.
  • And then each time I’m at home cooking/baking and I take an item off the shelf, it gets added back onto the ‘regular’ shopping list so that I’m constantly replenishing and maintaining what I’ve already accumulated.
  • And once I’ve gone through and purchased all of my ingredient ‘chunks’… well whadda ya know!… I’ve got a year’s supply of meals!! Wahoo!

It’s as simple as that! Or did that not sound very simple to you? πŸ˜‰ Oh, and the other beauty about writing out a plan like this… just add some check boxes next to each step and Ta-Da! There are our short-term goals! Just give yourself some deadlines to get each step accomplished by and you’re on your way to success!

Now, I know I need to clarify or spell out some (*cough cough* ALL) of these steps for some of you. (If you happen to be a lucky one where that all made sense to you the first time around, count your blessings and feel free to just take off running! :)) But if you would like some further clarification, I will take each of these steps for the next couple of weeks and spell out what needs to happen with them. And we’ll just start chipping away at these new short-term goals!
And, no, I didn’t forget about the water or the additional long-term food supplies, but since we’re working on not overwhelming ourselves, I’m just going to wait until we get our ‘everyday meals’ aspect well underway and then we’ll look at tackling the rest.
So if you’re going along the same path as me and this plan works for you, stay tuned for how to accomplish each step. Otherwise, your challenge this week is to develop your own personal plan to help you accomplish your Ultimate FS Goal.