So Simple


Sometimes it is just so simple, I miss it. A few weeks ago I was making a meatloaf and thought, Why not make two and freeze one for later? Better yet, when I make something that can be frozen, I should do that every timeI put two meals “up” in the freezer that week.

PicMonkey Collage purpleWe came home last night from vacation exhausted and tired. The rain fell outside, and piles of dirty laundry and a messy house awaited me. After working all morning, I wondered what I could make simple for dinner.  Oh Yea! I’ve got that meatloaf in the freezer!

IMG_9598It is just a simple meatloaf made with a pound of ground beef, an egg, two slices of bread crumbled up, chopped onion and green pepper with a package of beefy onion soup mix all mixed together and baked. I then boiled some red potatoes and mashed those and put on top of the cooked meat loaf and covered it with cheese. I put it back into the oven to melt for about 10 minutes. When I doubled the recipe, one went into the freezer (already cooked) and one we had for dinner.

Tonight I added green beans for a side dish, and we sat down and watched the Seahawks loose, and had a wonderful dinner. Sometimes I forget having a prepared pantry is also having dinner waiting for you in the freezer.

Linking up with Mosaic Monday

Summertime Salad

august flowerAugust is here and warming up in the Pacific Northwest.   Because our summer’s are so short and mild, most of us don’t have air-conditioning. This year has been a warm one, and there is nothing worse than heating up the kitchen and making something warm instead of a cool salad.

IMG_9354 This month, Costco has their tuna on sale with an automatic coupon. They come in packages of 12, I picked up two of them. The expiration date is 2017, so this makes a great thing to stock up on for your prepared pantry! A few weeks ago, all the Barilla products were on sale, so I bought ten packages of pasta and put up.  One of our favorite recipes and part of my list of menu’s for preparedness is tuna pasta salad.  Many of you have made this,but give this recipe a try. It is my mother’s recipe, and it is wonderful!  Most of it can be in your preparedness pantry, ready for any kind of disaster as long as you have a way to cook the pasta and you have mayonnaise. IMG_9358  Here is the recipe:

Tuna Shell Salad

1 cup of small macaroni shells

1 can of tuna drained

1/2 cup of sliced celery

1 small green pepper

1 small can of black olives

1/2 small onion chopped fine

2 Tablespoons of wine vinegar

1/2 tsp leaf oregano

salt and pepper to taste

Cook your pasta, and then add the other ingredients. One of my favorite things to have on hand for any emergency is Thrive freeze-dried celery.  Because it is freeze-dried it will last in your pantry for 20 years or opened for one year. This is already chopped for you,  and one can opened and used often, will last you for a year. I put this in soups, in salad, spaghetti sauce. Celery makes everything taste so much better, and to have some on hand along with freeze-dried onions is a must for a prepared pantry. (You can order this direct my website and it will shipped to your door!)

freeze dried food  It feels good to have some extra cans of tuna put away and some freeze-dried vegetables  to have dinner ready at a moments notice or in case of a disaster.

Do you have a summer salad that would make a good preparedness meal? Share it with us in the comments below!


Weekly Acomplishments


The summer solstice arrived yesterday in blues, with sunny skies and hydrangea  blooming. It’s been a long winter and in looking back at my earlier post, I haven’t updated since the first of the year. We had an intense winter with not only a few weeks of bitter cold weather and burst pipes, but my mother getting more frail and needing more involved care. She passed in the late spring and while the loss is deep and painful, we have the comfort in the life we shared and that she is joined by friends and family in a better place.

I thought for this new summer season (and a new season in my life without the role of caregiver) I would start a new Sunday series where we share our weekly preparedness accomplishments. Sometimes, just having a community to share what you did and to see what someone else is doing, is so motivating! I belong to a preparedness Facebook group, and I’ve noticed from that a need for sharing and marking what you have done, be it large or small. So stop back next Sunday and share what you’ve accomplished, and I will tell you what we did!


Our big accomplishment this week was getting the water barrels filled! I purchased the blue water system barrel from Thrive after the crisis in the Philippines made me so aware of how important water storage is. What I like about it is that it has a pump that comes with the system and instructions on how to store the water. I was so excited to see how we simply put the pump in, squeeze it, and out  flows clean, pure, water! We put the barrels on a wood base as you don’t want to store water directly on the ground. (There is a reason for that, I just can’t remember it now!) The white one we bought through a regional preparedness group, it had  7-Up stored in it so we washed it good with a vinegar water solution. Yesterday we stored over 150 gallons of water. It feels good to be a little more prepared!



The raspberries are ripe now and grown locally at a farm near our house. I purchased a flat of them and made raspberry jam. Have you ever read the labels on jam? It is hard to find jams and jellies that don’t have high fructose corn syrup used for sweeter!  The jam has a beautiful color, and a fresh sweet taste. This jam makes a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich a treat.  I also found enchilada sauce on sale and bought 10 cans. A small thing, but it is the little things we do that add up.

Please join the discussion and tell me,  what have you accomplished this week, even the small things, to be better prepared?

Looking Back, Looking Forward

new year
“Whether we want them or not, the New Year will bring new challenges;

whether we seize them or not, the New Year will bring new opportunities. ” ~Michael Josephson

It is that time of year when we look back, and we look forward. Those of us who strive to prepare, look at what we have accomplished and perhaps set new goals. Last week, my son and I did an inventory of our prepared pantry. I had bought 50 lbs of rice at a discount store, and we bagged them in Mylar bags with an oxygen absorber, and then sealed them in buckets.  This chore has been on my “to do” list for months, so it felt good to get it done! We organized, moved some things, and put it all into a computer spread sheet and came up with how much food we had and how long it would last. This year we made several wonderful additions:

  • We purchased a grain mill and learned how to grind our own wheat. We bought one that wasn’t electric, and while it would be great with a grid down scenario, it just takes way too long to make this a part of our routine. Next year we hope to buy an electric one.  We made muffins with our grain, and the freshness and the way it filled you up for the entire morning was wonderful. I want this to be a part of my routine, and truth is, I won’t grind the wheat by hand unless I was in a grid down situation. But it does feel really great to know we have it!
  • I started a food storage business, Thrive Life. It was not an easy decision for me, in the past I have kept my food storage to myself, but because I believe preparation must be a way of life and something we all need to consider doing, I decided to be open about it, and sell the products. The surprise for me was how the quality of the food is so much better than what I purchase at the store! We are now incorporating the freeze-dried foods into our everyday pantry and finding it not only cost-effective but convenient.
  • The disaster in the Philippines was a wake-up call for me to realize that we had neglected water preparation. We live close to a river, so while we do have a water source, it would need to be purified. I bought us a water purifier and gave it a try with the water from the river. I must say, it was good! I just purchased a 55 gallon water system  as well. It is on sale this month, for $87.89, it is a great deal!  (The sale continues through Jan. 20, I need to put this order in through the back office for the sale price, so leave me a message if you are interested.) I also learned a lesson on storing water jugs on their side…we had a leak in one and it caused significant damage in our pantry. Now I will store the water in our shed. If it leaks, you’ve got a problem, especially if you have laminate flooring.


Those are just a few of our highlights. For next year, I have set some goals:

  • Host monthly cooking classes with Thrive Foods. For January, I am going to show how to make soups, develop some great recipes, and share more how we can “use what we store, store what we use.”
  • This year I hope to get my daughter and her family set up with their prepared pantry. Money is very limited for them, but there are some things I believe anyone can do on a limited budget.
  • I want to put together some jar meals, and have just ordered a book Meals in a Jar to help me get started. One I learned from having our kitchen torn apart, there are times when cooking is just too hard. I can see how in a disaster, this would be the case. For these meals, I simply add water and heat them up. I am looking forward to trying these recipes!
  • I also want to share more of these ideas with you here on the blog. I appreciate your feedback and comments, this helps me to know if what I am sharing is a help to you.

IMG_7121-aOn a rainy cold day, just before Christmas, I saw a young woman by the side of the road holding a sign that said, Out of money, Out of gas, please help me. I was surprised, we live in a suburban setting, and while we don’t see this often, we have been seeing it more and more. Truthfully, I rarely give to people on the side of road like this, but there was something about this young woman that I just couldn’t shake. I had a gift card we received from the union to a local grocery store and so I stopped and she ran over, and I gave it to her. In her face I saw three things… relief, shame, and gratefulness. I cried all the way home.  This is why we prepare, this is why we look forward, this is why we look back on what we have accomplished. And everyday, we pause and we give thanks.

Now tell me, what have you been accomplished this past year, and what are you plans for 2014?

The Apple Harvest


I have been missing from posting for a long time! We had a small leak under the kitchen sink that didn’t seem like that big of a deal. I called the insurance company out to give us an estimate and before I knew it, the kitchen cabinets were sitting outside and I could actually look through the boards of the sub-floor to the dirt under the house. AH!! It seems like most of the summer was spent in the kitchen remodel, but now I have a beautiful wood kitchen floor and new fresh counter-tops. I am amazed at how beautiful my kitchen is now, and it is a reminder of how sometimes good can come from something bad.

IMG_8577It is apple season here in Washington State.  We have apples on the trees, over the arbors, and in large boxes at the farmers markets,  A few weeks ago, I bought a mixed box of apples and brought them home to make applesauce. I am new to canning, and this is the first time I ever made it. I was surprised how simple it was!

apple collage   I looked on-line at all kinds of recipes, in the end I just peeled and cored the apples and put them in my crock-pot. I put some brown sugar and cinnamon in the apples with a little bit of lemon juice. I cooked them until they were soft, and adjusted the sugar and cinnamon to taste. The house was filled with the fragrant aroma of apples and cinnamon!  I then filled my hot jars with the sauce and processed them in a water bath canner for 15 minutes.

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On cold winter mornings, we now have home-made applesauce to top our toast and pancakes. Each jar is a tasteful reminder of the fruitful blessings.

Have you ever made applesauce, how do you make it?

Summer Canning


Making goals for the season is something I have tried to do lately.  Especially summer, as the weather is beautiful here and it is a time to get things done and enjoy the season. If I don’t, summertime laziness creeps in and I wonder what we did that was fun, or what we accomplished. This year, my goal was to expand the gardens, both the flowers and the vegetable, and learn to pressure can. I have water-bathed canned for years, but I have never canned the vegetables and soups. I had never even thought of canning meat until I saw a video where she told how easy it is to put a meal together with canned chicken.  Really? Canned chicken?  I researched canners for months, and finally selected the All American Canner based on reviews and recommendations from several people who can often.


I jumped right in canning Tangerine Chili.  My thought was that having a meal I could simply open would be wonderful, and since tomatoes were ripe and the recipe called for fresh tomatoes that would be a great place to start.  I watched all kinds of videos first, even a video where they canned the recipe I was working on. I had to smile to myself, here I was in my 50’s, and calling my son and asking him what to do next. (He pressure cans food for living off-grid on his boat.) Most of the people I watched and learned from, were younger than I am.  I think many of these old skills skipped a generation or two and now we are seeing a resurgence. My own mother often declared she would never can like her mother did. I often heard her declare: “Why can when I can buy it cheaper in the store?!”  We have returned to the old ways as we realize he taste is superior and healthier, and there really is a nothing more convenient than opening a jar of home canned chili on a winter evening when you come in late. I  was able to put up several jars of chili and we ate a bowl that night despite the warm weather. I was on a roll and ready to can some vegetable soup next! I could see my pantry… filled with all sorts of wonderful vegetables and meals, just ready for us to use for a meal!

canningLife has a way of surprising you. We had a leak under the sink that we didn’t notice for a few days.  It leaked under the wood floor, under the cabinets, and when the floor started to buckle, I called our insurance agent. For the last two weeks, we’ve had contractors in, blowers going, and now our kitchen cabinets and sink have been removed to allow everything under them to dry. Canning or doing anything in the kitchen has come to a complete stop!  I can totally see the beauty of ready meals in a jar. We’ve gone out to eat most evenings as it is just too hard to try fix something. Did you learn to can as a child or is this a skill you are hoping to acquire? What summer bounty are you “putting up” this year?

A Wise House


“In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.”- Proverbs 21:20

Perhaps because we live in  a land where food is just a short drive away, with everything readily available at our local grocery store, that we forget the wisdom of storing food.  Most of us rarely prepare for hard times or disasters.   I believe this is a time when the Spirit is telling many to prepare, to store food, to save, to set aside something when they can.

littleGardening and canning are not for everyone, but each of us can do something. Buy two when it goes on sale, clear out a closet and put a little bit back, purchase some freeze-dried food for use in an emergency. It will add up week by week, and a year from now, your house will have a nice closet full of food.  About a year ago, I cleaned out a closet and began putting back a can here and there of what we ate regularly. Then I started purchasing freeze dried food with a long shelf life. It was the beginning of a new way of life for me, the beginning of preparing our house with stores of choice food and oil. I can now see the wisdom in the old ways, of having a well stocked pantry. There is peace in knowing that God has provided for your family, and you have done your best to prepare for the storm.

How do you store food, or is this something you would like to begin to do?

 Linking with Spiritual Sunday


Peachy Summertime

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Ah summer, you have the power to make us suffer and like it. -Russel Baker

Summertime is officially here in the Northwest with blue skies, warm days and yes, a bit of hot summer sunshine. Today I tried a new recipe, peach ice-tea. I used my Thrive Simply Peach drink, and brewed iced tea,( half and half) mixed.  I like to mix the peach drink in a little warm water to dissolve the sugar, then mix it in with the rest of the tea and water. One of the things I love about it, is it has no high fructose corn syrup and is vitamin enriched with no artificial colors.  In the afternoon when I am dragging, this picks me up. I put a little sliver of a nectarine on my glass like you would a lemon to give it a nice touch.

This afternoon I made a peach cobbler from some peaches I froze last year. Last summer when the peaches were ripe, I bought a large box of them, cut them up and put sugar on them with the lemon juice, and froze them in four cup increments in freezer bags. When I want peach cobbler, or just a bowl of fresh tasting peaches, I get them out of the freezer and thaw them in the microwave.  I found a simple recipe about 15 years ago in a Southern Living magazine and I have used that recipe ever since.


  Here is the recipe:

Peach Cobbler

1/2 cup of unsalted butter

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar (divided)

4 cups fresh peaches (or frozen)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1  T lemon juice

Melt butter in a 13 x 9 inch pan in the oven at 375 degrees. Combine flour, one cup sugar, baking powder and salt.  Add one cup of milk and stir it till it is mixed.  Pour the batter over the butter (don’t stir). Bring the remaining one cup of sugar, four cups of sliced peaches and the lemon juice to a boil over high heat stirring constantly; pour over the batter, don’t stir. Sprinkle with a touch of cinnamon. Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes until brown. Serve warm or cool.

My children look forward to peach cobbler every summer.  Taking advantage of the harvest and freezing them not only lets me take advantage of the price when they are in season, (or your own harvest if you are lucky enough to have a peach tree!) but makes this dessert very simple.

The afternoon sun is bearing down warm on the garden and heating up the house. I’m thinking the family better be happy with the peach cobbler and a sandwich for supper- I’m not heating the kitchen up again. There is a limit to how much suffering I am going to do on summer afternoon!

Linking up with my homesteading friends at: New Life on a Homestead

and the frugal friends at Handmade Monday

It’s Berry Season!

PicMonkey Collage“The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice.”

  It’s berry season here in the Pacific Northwest, with the harvest a little earlier this year with the warmer temperatures we have been having. I decided this year to try to make some blueberry freezer jam.  Freezer jam seems to keep that fresh berry taste better than canned, so it is favorite at our house. We use it for topping biscuits, ice-cream, pancakes and crepes. Or for just eating straight out of the jar-not that I would ever do that!


I wanted the jam to be a little less set, which freezer jam does tend to do. When I look for blueberry syrup, I can’t find any without high fructose corn syrup, and even then it is over $8 for a small bottle. I tried this recipe  from the ball website, although I didn’t use their pectin, I just used sure-jell.

The jam turned out perfect to use as a syrup, topping, or even as jelly for biscuits. This winter when the cold wind blows, fresh blueberry topping will be wonderful with pancakes.  Pancake mix is one of those items I have in my long term food storage pantry.  Different types of toppings would be nice in an emergency. If you top it with peanut butter instead of butter, not only be delicious, but it will get you through the morning.

Join in on the discussion, do you prefer freezer jam or canned?  What summer produce are you putting up for your pantry?

IMG_5029I’m linking up with:

From The Farm Blog Hop

Should Christians Prepare?

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“In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but  a foolish man devours all he has.” 

Proverbs 21:20

“The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord.” Proverbs 21:31

A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.Proverbs 22:3

A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.” Proverbs 22:9

Sometimes when people talk about having a prepared pantry, or preparing for a rainy day, they will say something like, “As a Christian, I don’t worry about preparing; the Lord will provide, look at the birds, the Lord provides for them.”  I too count on the provision of God, and yet I go to work to earn an income.  I save for my retirement and the days when I am too old to work.  If I want organic pears in the winter, I  know the only way I will have that is to can the harvest from our old pear tree in September.  I give to others from the overflow, but I also put some back for the coming year ahead. It is simply the prudent thing to do!

IMG_7280I was catching up on my reading Proverbs this morning and I noticed two themes,the house of the wise store up, and the righteous man is generous and shares his food with the poor.  Many Christians are feeling an uneasiness in their spirit and are beginning to prepare through having a well stocked pantry and putting some food back. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark, and yet he worked diligently to prepare for his family and the animals on the earth.   As Christians we need to use our mind and our heart. We need to listen to the Spirits gentle and quiet whispers to us, we need to look at the whole Bible and not pick a scripture out of the context of the subject. Let us look at stories like Joseph and Noah, and may we prepare, but know in our heart that the victory will be from the Lord.

I want to welcome you to my new website called The Prepared Pantry. I hope to write balanced and practical tips and ideas for those who want to be wise in these times.


Linking up with Spiritual Sunday today!