APRIL: “Get it Done” Challenge

It’s a new month and we are excited to announce the “Get it Done” Challenge for April. Have you been procrastinating getting your 72 hour kits put together? Do you have kits but haven’t opened them for several years? Would you like to expand on your kits and make them better? Well this month’s challenge is for you!

APRIL: Get it Done Challenge -- Swap those kits

Having spare clothes for your kids in a 72 hour kit won’t do you any good if they are 4 sizes to small. Having food that is expired and/or inedible won’t keep you alive for very long either. While either of those options is better than not having a kit at all, it’s probably best to update yours! Your April challenge is to do at least one of the following THIS WEEK:

SAWP

1. Create a 72 hour kit for each member of your family
2. Swap out seasonal or outgrown clothes and replace food items in your 72 hour kits
3. Find a few ways to supplement what you already have in your 72 hour kits


Download our complete Emergency Preparedness Plan for a basic guideline on what you should include in your kits.

Also, our April newsletter contained TONS of tips on how to build, rotate, or expand on your kits. Check out the newsletter at THIS LINK and make sure to subscribe to our BabySteps Checklists if you want to receive all of our newsletters.

POCKET SOCKET GIVEAWAY

The giveaway is now closed. Congrats to Edith Kincade who won the Pocket Socket!

Screen shot 2014-04-01 at 10.36.18 PMOur giveaway item this month is an awesome product we just heard about that is perfect for 72 hour kits. It’s called a Pocket Socket and is a hand-powered generator that charges electronics with a crank. You can charge phones and rechargeable batteries with this, anything that uses less than 10 watts of electricity. The pocket socket is one of Thrive Life’s monthly specials in April!

To be entered to win, SHARE THIS POST on Facebook with your friends, and then leave a comment there letting us know you shared and the date you commit to have the challenge completed by.

Here are some bonus ways to earn entries or in case you don’t use Facebook:

- Post a picture on our Facebook fan page
- Post a picture on twitter and tag our twitter username @foodstoragetips
- Email us a picture at info@foodstoragemadeeasy.net

Winner will be randomly selected and notified Tuesday, April 8, at 10:00 pm MST.

Emergency Preparedness Plan: Whats New?

EPREP
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE NEW PLAN

Last week for our 5th year Blogging Anniversary we introduced our brand new Emergency Preparedness Plan. Today we wanted to talk a little bit more in depth about the plan.

Here are some of the main differences and additions:

WHAT’S THE SAME:

  • The three main sections are still the same: Family Plan, Disaster Kits, Evacuation Lists.
  • There’s still room for you to fill in emergency contact info and other important components of your family plan.
  • We still give a menu of food for you to put in your 72 hour kits (and other necessary items for cooking, etc.)
  • We continue to talk about the necessities needed to keep your car stocked and having a game plan for things you would grab in case of an evacuation.

WHAT’S DIFFERENT:

  • The file is a pdf file now. You can print it out easily even if you don’t know how to print from excel without all the extra spaces and lines.
  • We changed the Disaster Kit titles to include the words “72 Hour Kit”, and “Emergency Binder”. The new titles are more descriptive of what is included in each section. We also added the word “Car Kit” to the Evacuation section
  • We included tips and facts throughout the whole plan to help you in your planning and purchasing processes. These tips are things we have learned ourselves as well as reader suggestions that have helped us.
  • Instead of giving you just the one menu plan for the food in your 72 hour kits, we included several lists of menus depending on varying diets. We also included meal planning worksheets for you to make your own custom menus.
  • TIPS FOR YOUR KITS

    After finishing the new plan, we decided to give it a test and printed it out before going through our 72 hour kits that needed rotating. The plan flowed very well, and we’re confident it will help you rethink (or start) your plan. Here are some additional tips to think about when putting together your plan and kits. A lot of these are included in the plan, but we thought since we had your attention we would share them here too.

    PURCHASING: After you’ve come up with everything you still need to buy for your kit, break it up into a purchasing schedule. Purchase just 1 or 2 things each week for however many weeks it takes you. The point is you’ll be making progress, even if you can’t buy it all at once.

    GRAB LIST(S): Instead of having just one grab list (things you would grab if you have to evacuate) have multiple lists- one for each family member. Tape those lists up on the inside of your front closet door. When it comes time to evacuate, anyone who is old enough can get their list and hurry. This will save time deciding who is going to grab what.

    INDIVIDUAL KITS: For anyone old enough, make them their own kit. Have food, water, and clothes in each kit so in case of separation everyone will have their own stuff. Divvy up the remaining supplies among all the kits. Put the heavier stuff in the stronger family members’ kits. Use backpacks or rolling bags that are easy to transport. Lugging around big rubbermaid bins is HARD.

    TRIAL SIZE TOILETRIES: There are sample sizes of shampoos, toothpastes, deodorants etc. you can purchase for the kits. They are in the regular personal hygiene aisles at the store. No need to lug around big containers of those things. Another idea is to save the samples you get at hotels and put those in your kits. They always get thrown away anyways if you only use a small portion!

    THRIFT STORE CLOTHING: It can be inconvenient and kind of wasteful to store regular usable clothes in your kits that stay stored in a closet while children outgrow them. Consider purchasing outfits at a thrift store for your kits. That way you wont have to feel bad about not using whole outfits while they still fit.

    COLD WEATHER BAG: There are a lot of items you might want in your 72 hour kit if it were cold- but you wouldn’t want if it were warmer weather. Store all the stuff you would need in colder weather in a separate bag or container that you would grab and go in case of emergency during the winter. If it happened to be warmer, you could just leave it behind.

    PUT FRESH FOOD ON GRAB LIST: If time, circumstance, and space allow – grab any fresh food you may have and throw it in a cooler on your way out (if you are leaving in a car). You may really appreciate fresh produce in the first 24-72 hours of a crisis.

    DIAPER BAGS PACKED: This goes for evacuations OR everyday emergencies. Do your best to ALWAYS have your diaper bags packed with extra food, clothes, and diapers. If you’re in the habit of doing this all the time it could really save you in a REAL emergency (like those don’t happen daily with babies on the go).

    IDEAS FOR ROTATION: Depending on how often your kit needs rotating (the foods you chose will dictate this), make it a habit to change them out at the same time each year. Whether it be Halloween (where you use some of the extra candy as comfort food), Spring cleaning week, April Fools Day (we did that last year so we wouldn’t be fools- we know it was corny) or any other time of year, get in the habit of rotating and re-evaluating them.

    COMMUNICATION: If in case you are evacuating and you expect your house to be in tact when you return, it’s wise to maybe leave a note about your where-abouts on a door. That way when people come looking to see if you are safe – they will know you are elsewhere.

    And now, I’ll leave you with a picture of part of my kits sprawled out all over my family room floor. Dumping and pouring your kits out is a sure way to MAKE YOURSELF rotate the food and clothes in there. The food got older, and my kids got bigger since I did this last. Oh and yes, that’s our NEW PLAN printed out on the floor in front of everything. I used it to guide myself through the task :)

    Capture

10 Ways to Practice Powerless Cooking This Summer

Summer is a GREAT chance to practice cooking without power because the weather is nice, you can avoid heating up your kitchen, and your kids are around and can join in the fun. Most people do some form of outdoor cooking or camping throughout the summer, so why not use it as a chance to practice some important skills!

practice-powerless-cooking

1. Use a Solar Oven: Nobody likes heating up their kitchen in the middle of a hot summer afternoon. Cook any of your regular foods outdoors using the power of the sun. We love practicing with our Sun Ovens, but if you don’t have one there are a couple of plans online to be able to make your own. This one is a little more like a real sun oven, and this one is a simple pizza box oven that will not get too hot but can be used sort of like a slow cooker.

2. Cook on Your Fire: If you are out camping, don’t just stick with the usual hot dogs and marshmallows. Experiment with making “food storage” meals. Boil water and make a “just add water” meal. Or use freeze dried eggs, sausage, and veggies to create your own omelets for breakfast.

3. Make a #10 Can Stove: Simply push some hangers through a #10 can and give it some ventilation and you can make a little outdoor stove that can use wood, charcoal, or InstaFire. This is great for boiling water or roasting hot dogs, and kids think it’s fun! Here is a tutorial we put together on how to make one.

4. Make a #10 Can Oven: We saw this idea on a forum and thought it looked like an awesome way to practice powerless cooking with a cheap oven. Lay the can on it’s side and stick a wire rack inside and put charcoal underneath. Then wire the lid back on and it makes a perfect mini oven. Here is the link to details about how to make one.

5. Make a #10 Can Grill: Who knew #10 cans could be so useful right? To make a perfect little grill you make slices in a #10 can and then bend the strips back, cover them with foil, place charcoal inside and a grill over top. You can see pictures of this idea at this link.

6. Do Your Canning Outdoors: I often think if there were a powerless emergency I would want to hurry and can a bunch of my freezer foods. Why not practice canning out on your barbecue grill or a camping stove or even a butane stove and see if it works. Practice getting your pressure right if you are pressure canning, and see how much fuel it uses as well. The added benefit to this is not heating up your kitchen!

7. Pull Out Your Dutch Oven: If you don’t have a dutch oven, check garage sales or second hand stores to try to get one for cheap. Dutch oven cooking can be a fun adventure and the food can be delicious! Practice now when you don’t HAVE to and then in a real emergency, you will have lots of ideas for things you can make. Here is a great blog by a lady who cooked with her Dutch Oven every day for a year!

8. Use Your Coleman (or other) Camping Stove: Most people who enjoy camping have some sort of propane or butane camping grill that they use. Don’t be afraid to pull out the grill at home even if you aren’t camping. Experiment with cooking some regular family meals on it as opposed to just usual camping food. Pay attention to fuel usage and make a plan for how much to store. You can learn a lot by simply practicing.

9. Make a Cardboard Box Oven: This is another fun idea to do with kids. This is a bigger oven than the #10 can one would be and can be used just like a regular oven with charcoal. If you make one and practice with it, then you can always keep it in your storage and have it ready to go in an emergency. Or just keep the materials on hand to whip out a new one should the need arise. Here is a tutorial we made on how to make this one.

10. Experiment With Fuels: Whatever stoves, ovens, grills, etc. you have, fuel is going to be your main concern in a powerless emergency. We did a whole series last February about different fuels. You may want to review it and try to pick up a few of the different fuels and experiment with them. Here is the link to the posts in that series.

New and Improved All-American Sun Oven (ok this is really exciting!)

If you’ve followed our blog for a while, you probably know that we both love and use our Global Sun Ovens frequently. We teach about them intensively in our Powerless Cooking Classes because it is such a great way to conserve your fuel as long as you have a sunny day. You can check out a few of our cooking adventures here and here.

Well today we are so excited to tell you about the BRAND NEW ALL-AMERICAN SUN OVEN. The company has taken feedback from customers over the years and has made so many great enhancements to the sun oven. We’re going to highlight some of our favorites in this post, but you can check out the full details over at our Online Store. This new Sun Oven is only available in the U.S. while the Global Sun Oven will still be available in the U.S. and worldwide.

sunoven-newpin

Benefits of the NEW All-American Sun Oven

Screen shot 2013-04-09 at 11.19.41 PM 20% LARGER INTERIOR: Without increasing the exterior size of the oven, the interior can now accommodate a regular 9×13 pan. HURRAY for this! Now you don’t have to buy special pots and pans or limit your meals to smaller meals.
EASIER TO ALIGN WITH THE SUN: No more trying to figure out if the oven is aligned properly with the sun (did anyone else feel like the shadow thing was really hard to get right??) The little plastic E-Z Sun Track Indicators take all the guess work out.
Screen shot 2013-04-09 at 11.15.01 PM MORE STABLE: The stake at the back is now t-shaped so it is more stable in windy weather, it also includes little stakes you can use to pin it to the ground.
Screen shot 2013-04-09 at 11.19.34 PM HOTTER TEMPERATURES: With a thicker glass door and a better sealing gasket, temperatures can now get 10-15% hotter than the Global Sun Oven. On full sunny days you can get up to 360-400 degrees. Woo-hoo!
rack BETTER LEVELING RACK: The new rack looks great, you can use it in different ways, including folding it up and placing it on the floor of the sun oven to increase the usable area inside while still allowing air to circulate in the oven. Love this.
NEW CD: The new CD that comes with every All-American Sun Oven is full of emergency preparedness info, videos, and tons of amazing recipes developed specifically for the sun oven plus FREE recipe organizer software. You can even update the software to download all the new recipes from Sun Ovens website. How cool is that?

sunoven-buy

If you already own a Sun Oven, we have heard that there will be an upgrade kit that will get you all of the new features (except for the interior capacity). We will keep you posted as soon as it is available.

Sneak Peak at the New Features

Paul Munsen, the President of Sun Ovens International stopped by my house when he was in town last week to give me a sneak peek at the new sun oven. I canNOT wait to get my hands on one of these and start using it! I tried to film a video of him showing me the new features but alas, when you have a 6 year old help film you end up with only half of a video. You can see the half of it that actually recorded after I took the phone from her. I TRIED, please forgive me :)

“FUEL THE FIRE” FEBRUARY

We hope you have enjoyed our “Fuel the Fire” in February series. We have had fun learning about and sharing a lot of different fuel options you may consider adding to your Emergency Preparedness Plan. Enjoy the overview of the series below.

If you aren’t signed up already for our FREE CHECKLISTS, make sure you get on the list. You’ll get a free checklist every 2 weeks to help you plan, buy, and use your Food Storage.


This year we wanted to do something educational, but keep with the theme of Valentine’s Day, so we are going to be celebrating Fuel the Fire February by discussing all the different fuels you may be using for your powerless cooking.


The most common fuels people store for powerless cooking are:

  • Wood
  • Charcoal
  • Propane
  • Butane
  • Kerosene
  • Alcohol
  • There are many considerations when you determine which fuels to store such as: storage limits, using indoors versus outdoors, storing indoors versus outdoors, what types of cooking appliances you can use, etc. For an overview of a lot of these common fuels please check out our Cooking Fuels Overview handout from our Powerless Cooking Class.


    While most people are familiar with the above fuels, there have been quite a few new products developed lately that are really great for emergency preparedness/powerless cooking needs. We have been gradually researching, trying, and storing quite a few of these fuels and want to teach you guys more about them.

    ReadyFuel: This is a new product from Lindon Farms. It is a gel that can be used indoors or outdoors, and won’t freeze, evaporate, or melt. It’s very light and each packet contains a little metal sheet that can be turned into a holder for your pot. It’s a great little fuel for camping or small cooking needs like boiling water.
    READ OUR READY FUEL OVERVIEW

    InstaFire: If you’ve followed our blog for a while you will know that we think InstaFire is a great product. It can be stored inside in convenient buckets, it burns in any kind of weather, and will even burn wet wood. It is handy to use in any kind of portable stove or even just on the ground. It’s definitely a nice supplement to go along with your other fuels.
    READ OUR INSTA FIRE OVERVIEW

    Fuel Disks: There are a few companies putting out fuel pellets or pucks that can be used in stoves such as the Firebox, or Cube Stove. The disks can be re-used if you don’t use the whole thing. They are easy to burn but must be used outside. They store easily and conveniently indoors or out. They are a very efficient fuel with one pellet lasting for one hour of cooking.
    READ OUR FUEL DISK OVERVIEW

    Solar Power: If you can find a way to harness the sun, solar power can be a great FREE and renewable fuel source for you. We have loved using our Sun Ovens whenever weather permits to conserve other fuels for cloudy days. With the new dehydrating racks you can also have a source for dehydrating fresh foods in a powerless emergency.
    READ OUR SUN OVEN OVERVIEW

    Stoves: We’re ending off Fuel The Fire February with a quick overview of some stoves you may be able to use with the different fuels we have talked about. While this is only scratching the surface on cooking stoves, we thought you may be interested in a few options such as Make Your Own, Firebox, Cube Stove, and Volcano.
    READ OUR STOVE OVERVIEW

    Cooking Stoves Overview

    Description:
    We’re ending off Fuel The Fire February with a quick overview of some stoves you may be able to use with the different fuels we have talked about. While this is only scratching the surface on cooking stoves, we thought you may be interested in a few options.

    Make Your Own #10 Can Stove:
    A cheap and easy way to build a portable stove is by using a #10 can, cutting out holes for ventilation and placing wires in to hold various sizes of pots. We did a fun tutorial on how to make #10 can stoves, packed with fuels as a gift.

    PRO: FREE to make
    CON: Not all that efficient or sturdy (you will end up using more fuel)
    CLICK HERE TO SEE A TUTORIAL


    Cube Stove:
    The Cube is made of durable alumized steel with an electrostatic surface which reflects heat better than stainless steel or other comparable surfaces. It can be used in 7 different positions to accommodate different needs, such as cooking fast or slow, or cooking on a large pot or small cup.

    PRO: Small, durable, reusable, very inexpensive
    CON: Doesn’t fold down flat like the Firebox
    CLICK HERE TO BUY NOW OR LEARN MORE


    Firebox Stove:
    Firebox 5″ Folding Campfire Stove: “The most portable, versatile, easy to use cooking stove ever.” It’s a thin, portable campfire and multi-fuel stove with a 5″ combustion chamber that burns very efficiently. Simply place combustible fuels in the Firebox and ignite from the top or bottom through the fire grate.

    PRO: Very efficient, will conserve fuel, folds down into a thin flat stove
    CON: Costs more than the free or cheap options
    CLICK HERE TO BUY NOW OR LEARN MORE


    Volcano Stove:
    The Volcano Grill’s unique heating chamber channels the heat upwards towards your food, instead of wasting fuel by expelling heat out the sides and bottom. You can use the Volcano with a variety of fuels, and cook with pots and pans, grills, woks, or dutch ovens. Perfect for camping and or emergency preparedness

    PRO: Can use a variety of fuel such as propane, charcoal, Insta fire. You can grill, bake, fry and more
    CON: This is a heavier, larger stove. Not meant for compact backpacking situations
    CLICK HERE TO BUY NOW OR LEARN MORE


    Sun Oven Overview

    Description:
    While the Sun Oven isn’t a FUEL, the SUN is! We couldn’t talk about fuels, without mentioning the Sun. We love our Sun Ovens. Often times people ask us how we would cook our food if there were no power. Our answer is: We would use the Sun Oven as much as possible, then fill in the rest with a variety of fuels and stoves.

    Benefits:
    - Uses the Sun as a source of fuel for cooking
    - Can be used in the year round as long as there is enough sun to cast a shadow
    - Functions just like a home oven
    - Preserves your other fuel stores

    Drawbacks:
    - Can’t be used on rainy days
    - Isn’t as fast and effective to boil water as some other methods

    Burn Time:
    We hope the burn time of the sun is indefinite!

    Sun Oven Shipping Special
    All Sun Ovens purchased through Food Storage Made Easy are sold at the lowest possible prices with FREE SHIPPING.
    CLICK HERE TO BUY NOW OR LEARN MORE

    Our Sun Oven Experiments

    Check out how Julie’s bread turned out using the Sun Oven!

    Check out when Jodi tried out the Sun Oven in the WINTER snow!

    CLICK TO VISIT THE MAIN FUEL OVERVIEW PAGE

    Fuel Disks Overview

    Description:
    Fuel Disks are an ideal fuel source for portable wood burning stoves such as the Firebox or Cube Stove. QuickStove Fuel Discs are made of cedar and highly refined wax, they are designed to light easily and to burn hot. Since most meals take less than 30 minutes to cook, they are a perfect solution as an emergency source of heat for cooking.

    Benefits:
    - Fuel Disks can be stored indefinitely
    - Can be used as a fire starter, or fire source
    - Can be used as emergency heat source during cold weather
    - A dry, easy-to-burn fuel when it’s windy, rainy or snowy
    - Can boil water for emergency preparedness cooking

    Drawbacks:
    - Can’t be used inside
    - Needs a stove you can put it in to use for cooking

    Burn Time:
    QuickStove Fuel Disks are designed to burn for 30 – 45 minutes each.

    30 Day Supply:
    Approximately 36 fuel discs would give you a 30 day supply of fuel to cook two to three meals a day. Yes, the Fuel Disks can be extinguished. However, it is recommended you break the fuel disk in half if you only need to cook for a few minutes.

    Fuel Disc 3 Month Supply
    Retail Price: $250.00
    Our Regular Price: $179.99
    CLICK HERE TO BUY NOW OR LEARN MORE

    CLICK TO VISIT THE MAIN FUEL OVERVIEW PAGE

    InstaFire Overview

    Description:
    InstaFire is a great product to use as a fire starter or even as a stand-alone fuel. It can be stored inside in convenient buckets, it burns in any kind of weather, and will even burn wet wood. It is handy to use in any kind of portable stove or even just on the ground.

    Benefits:
    - Lights and burns in wind, rain, sleet or snow.
    - Burns wet firewood — at almost 1000°, and quickly dries out wet wood.
    - Compact and lightweight, easily fits and carries anywhere
    - Convenient storage, stores inside and outside, even near food
    - Great compliment to other fuels
    - Easy to extinguish and re-use

    Drawbacks:
    - Leaves more ash than other options
    - Hard to get a flame started in high wind

    Burn Time:
    1/2 cup of InstaFire will burn for 15-20 minutes

    30 Day Supply:
    One 5 gallon bucket is about 80 cups of InstaFire, which should boil water 3 times a day for almost a month.

    InstaFire 5 Gallon Bucket
    Our Regular Price: $79.95
    OUR PRICE: $69.95 plus FREE SHIPPING
    CLICK HERE TO BUY NOW OR LEARN MORE

    InstaFire Introduction

    The creators of InstaFire came and cooked for us using only InstaFire. See how it worked out in the video below.

    CLICK TO VISIT THE MAIN FUEL OVERVIEW PAGE

    “FUEL THE FIRE” February: Which Fuel Do I Use?

    In the past we’ve posted a few fun things about Valentine’s Day such as “Jodi’s Hot Date”, our Valentine’s Day Office Kit, or Grandma Lori’s famous sugar cookies which could be decorated for the big day.


    This year we wanted to do something educational, but keep with the theme of Valentine’s Day, so we are going to be celebrating Fuel the Fire February by discussing all the different fuels you may be using for your powerless cooking.


    The most common fuels people store for powerless cooking are:
    - Wood
    - Charcoal
    - Propane
    - Butane
    - Kerosene
    - Alcohol

    There are many considerations when you determine which fuels to store such as: storage limits, using indoors versus outdoors, storing indoors versus outdoors, what types of cooking appliances you can use, etc. For an overview of a lot of these common fuels please check out our Cooking Fuels Overview handout from our Powerless Cooking Class.


    While most people are familiar with the above fuels, there have been quite a few new products developed lately that are really great for emergency preparedness/powerless cooking needs. We have been gradually researching, trying, and storing quite a few of these fuels and want to teach you guys more about them.

    ReadyFuel: This is a new product from Lindon Farms. It is a gel that can be used indoors or outdoors, and won’t freeze, evaporate, or melt. It’s very light and each packet contains a little metal sheet that can be turned into a holder for your pot. It’s a great little fuel for camping or small cooking needs like boiling water.
    READ OUR READY FUEL OVERVIEW

    InstaFire: If you’ve followed our blog for a while you will know that we think InstaFire is a great product. It can be stored inside in convenient buckets, it burns in any kind of weather, and will even burn wet wood. It is handy to use in any kind of portable stove or even just on the ground. It’s definitely a nice supplement to go along with your other fuels.
    READ OUR INSTA FIRE OVERVIEW

    Fuel Disks: There are a few companies putting out fuel pellets or pucks that can be used in stoves such as the Firebox, or Cube Stove. The disks can be re-used if you don’t use the whole thing. They are easy to burn but must be used outside. They store easily and conveniently indoors or out. They are a very efficient fuel with one pellet lasting for one hour of cooking.
    READ OUR FUEL DISK OVERVIEW

    Solar Power: If you can find a way to harness the sun, solar power can be a great FREE and renewable fuel source for you. We have loved using our Sun Ovens whenever weather permits to conserve other fuels for cloudy days. With the new dehydrating racks you can also have a source for dehydrating fresh foods in a powerless emergency.
    READ OUR SUN OVEN OVERVIEW

    Stoves: We’re ending off Fuel The Fire February with a quick overview of some stoves you may be able to use with the different fuels we have talked about. While this is only scratching the surface on cooking stoves, we thought you may be interested in a few options such as Make Your Own, Firebox, Cube Stove, and Volcano.
    READ OUR STOVE OVERVIEW