Sunday, February 14, 2016

A Prepared Pantry

The thought of a PREPARED PANTRY has seemed overwhelming at times. But in recent months I have found a renewed interest to forge ahead and put into practice what I'm learning. Once I made the decision to take a few baby steps then the rest has been easier.


I see a Prepared Pantry as just another way of caring for my family's needs.  How many ways do we already prepare for possible future problems or needs? Healthy meals, brushing our teeth, buying insurance and even shopping for next weeks groceries are just a few. A Prepared Pantry is an extension of what we are already doing for our family.

 I, personally, have 3 reasons why I want to keep a well stocked prepared pantry:

1. Personal trials (sickness, unexpected loss of income)
2. Uncertain economy (national debt concerns, inflation)
3. Natural disasters (earthquake, floods, blizzards, etc.)

Our government even recommends to set aside 3 days to 2 weeks worth of food and water.
Department of Homeland Security: Be ready

Two year old artichoke plant
So, I've sat down and made a 2 week list for my Prepared Pantry. The food from this list will be different from my basic pantry that meets our daily needs. I've marked through the items that I already have purchased. Some months I may only have an extra $5 to build my Prepared Pantry...but something is better than nothing.

-Prepare a 2 week menu using only non-perishable foods. Include water.
-Purchase 4 gallons of water each month until I reach a 2 week water supply for my husband, myself and
  my mother (she is 84 years old and not prepping). I drink 100 ounces of water a day so that needs to be
  taken into account.
-Purchase a 2 week supply of lamp oil, wicks, candles and matches. I already have an oil lamp.
-Canned meats (tuna, chicken, beef, salmon, roast)
-Canned vegetables and canned no sugar, lower carb and low oxalate fruit (not sure there is such a thing!)
-Canned soups
-Canned chili (no beans)
-Soup making items (broth, etc.)
-Toilet paper (I set aside a few rolls every month)
-Large bottle of hand sanitizer (in case there is no water)
-Items to make my own hand wipes (paper towels, dish soap, baby oil, rubbing alcohol). Store bought hand wipes will dry out over time.
-Liquid laundry detergent, clean plunger and a large clean bucket (no electricity means no washing machine so these items will provide an alternative)
-Large trash bags, 5 gallon bucket (toilet)
-Board games (no electricity = no TV for entertainment)
-Encouraging missionary stories,etc.
-Bible tracts (hopeful opportunities to share Jesus with others)
-First Aid kit
-Canning lids, jars, pectin (a means to preserve food in the freezer/fridge if the electricity is out for too long)

Pruned raspberry canes

Faith and food storage are not at odds with one another. Here are just a few examples of those who stored up food.

The wise store up choice food and olive oil. Proverbs 21:20

 I would feel horrible if my family suffered because I didn't take the opportunity to prepare.

I often feel anxious when I read prepping blogs because they offer no hope other than the physical. I'm thankful for their practical advice (and I do take it to heart) but frankly I don't want to imagine a future without God and His Word.  I could build a huge food pantry that could be lost in a single hour. But, nothing can steal God's Word in my heart.  Learning and knowing God's Word is one of the most important ways to prepare for an uncertain tomorrow. I'm currently memorizing Psalm 139 which will be one of many heart treasures that can never be affected by a failing economy or a natural disaster.

“‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4 ESV

Don't let the thought of preparing your pantry overwhelm you.  Pray and ask the Lord to guide you then do what you can to deepen your pantry a little each paycheck.

Blessed to be home,



He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32   ESV


My 'floating' vase for Camelia's
“The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One.  Many ordinary treasures may be denied him, or if he is allowed to have them, the enjoyment of them will be so tempered that they will never be necessary to his happiness.  Or if he must see them go, one after one, he will scarcely feel a sense of loss, for having the Source of all things, he has in One all satisfaction, all pleasure, all delight.  Whatever he may lose he has actually lost nothing, for he now has it all in One, and he has it purely, legitimately, forever.”  A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

Here are a few things happening in our neck of the woods:

1. My orange tree is full this year. I've never made marmalade jam before but my daughter in love inspired me by her own efforts. I made 2 batches and hope to make a couple more once I regain some strength. The first was a low sugar batch for our household and the second batch will be saved for Christmas gifts. Both recipes came from the Sure Jell package.

2. Our electric and gas bill were the highest they have ever been. I'm so thankful I saved the leftover money from the lower bills throughout the year.

3. My 5 week pay periods are always a challenge and oftentimes catch me off guard. I've been thinking of ways to be better prepared so I went through my calendar and marked the 5 week pay periods. I also went back and marked a month in advance so I can check supplies and stock up on essentials ahead of time.

4. I'm starting to prepare the garden for Spring. The apricot tree has been pruned along with the raspberry canes, grape vines, apple tree and asparagus growth (oh, and we already harvested 14 asparagus stalks with more sprouting up). Next, I need to prune the berry bush. It never ceases to amaze me how much food we can harvest from our small city lot. We purchased another white nectarine to cross pollinate with the one we already own. It's full of hopeful buds!

5. I have a lovely bedroom dresser of my grandmothers. It always brings back sweet memories of staying with her when I was a child. One of the handles broke so we used Super Glue to piece it back together and let it sit overnight. It looks brand new and is strong! Super glue was also used to repair a hair clip that otherwise would be thrown away.


6. I received my heirloom seed order. Heirloom seeds are a good value because you can save the seeds from the harvested plant. It will save us money in the long run. I purchased a few new varieties of tomato seeds which should be fun to try.

7. My old kitchen counters are pretty pitiful. The grout is so old and it always looks dirty. I've tried so many things to make it look better but nothing has worked. The only thing that works is to use Bar Keepers friend with an old toothbrush and work it into the grout. I also tear out the old grout around the sink each year and replace with new caulking. I do this around the bathroom tub, too. I may not have a new kitchen but there is always something I can do to make things look better.

8. I have been blessed with a neighbor who shares her Meyer lemons with me.  I continue to fill ice cube trays with lemon juice and freeze. Once frozen I put the cubes into a freezer bag and place in the freezer. I love making a sugar free Lemon Curd  or Lemon Supreme Bars for a family gathering. (see recipe below)
Low sugar jam

9. My very smart (and handsome) husband unplugged our bathroom sink. It plugged up right after Christmas and I knew our funds were low. I boiled a pot of water and poured it down the sink and my sweetheart used a plunger. I boiled a second pot of water and with more plunging it broke through whatever was stopped up. Boy, was I praising God and complimenting my husband's efforts!

10.  We had our taxes done for free at a local library. We have done this for the past two years. They even filed an amendment necessary for last year's taxes. The program is called VITA. 

"Neighborhood Watch Cat" ( the covers are easier to wash than shampooing my couch)
Lemon Supreme Bars

Sift together:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Cut in:
1 cup butter
Press into 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. 
Beat together:
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice (I use fresh lemon juice)
Sift together:
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
Add to the egg mixture and mix together. Pour over crust and bake 25 minutes more.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cool. Cut in squares.  

Houston Chicken

Boneless Chicken (pound flat)
Barbecue sauce (sugar free works, too)
Cheddar cheese, shredded

Put sauce and bacon on chicken. Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Bacon won't be done. Then broil 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle cheese and broil 1-2 minutes until melted. Check to make sure chicken is done inside.

Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps by Paula Deen 

I made these appetizer for the Super Bowl and they were a hit!

    • 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
    • 1 (1 lb) package sliced bacon
    • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar (or Brown Sugar Twin for lower sugar)
    • 2 tablespoons chili powder
Preheat oven to 350°F.
  1. Cut chicken breasts into 1-inch cubes.
  2. Cut each bacon slice into thirds. Wrap each chicken cube with bacon and secure with a wooden pick inserted on the diagonal starting where bacon seam overlaps.
  3. Stir together brown sugar and chili powder. Dredge wrapped chicken in mixture.
  4. Coat a rack and broiler pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place chicken on rack in broiler pan.
  5. Bake at 350°F for 30 to 35 minutes, or until bacon is crisp.


Saved, ReUsed or Repurposed
-Patio screen (Rolled up and stored for a future need )
-Bread wrapper (storage bag)
-Toothbrush (detail cleaning around sinks)
-Tinfoil washed and reused
-Plastic bag a shirt came in (garbage can liner)
-Paper plate plastic bag (garbage can liner,etc.)
-Rubber bands from newspaper
-Old manila files (reused by placing a new file label over previous name)
-Newspapers (under litter box or to layer in the vegetable garden for weed control) 
-Butter wrappers (I put these in a baggie in the fridge to use instead of parchment paper...thanks to an idea found at House of Simple)

Preparing my Pantry (purchased this month)

-Box of Matches
-Lamp oil
-4 gallons of water
-Wick for oil lamp
-Chicken, canned 
-Garbage bags
What's new in your neck of the woods?