Friday, 23 November 2012

Stockpile Challenge Update

It's been a while since my last post.  I was crazy busy the past little while, but things look to be slowing down a bit for the next week or so.  I hope to have a couple more posts coming along soon.

So an update on my stockpile challenge.  It's been going pretty well.  I've had a couple non-stockpile food sources in the form of take out.  (Pizza, Indian and Chinese food)

As for purchases, I've bought some fresh produce (leeks, potatoes, cucumbers, bananas and pineapple), milk, eggs and bread.  Aside from that I've not purchased anything else (which was difficult when I was craving some potato chips ;P)

It's been 20 days so far and I've spent maybe $25 on groceries in that time.

I've also found that I've been trying out different foods.  I tend to be one of those people who finds something yummy, then eat that every day for 4 days, then move to the next item.  There has been much more varity in my diet as of late.

I also found a creative way to switch up your food source without spending the money.  I did a soup exchange with my mother.  I made a pot of Potato leek soup, she did a pot of Corn chowder, then we met and exchanged mason jars of soup.  Now I had two totally different soups, but I only had to pay for and spend the time making one.  I've heard about this food exchange thing with some of the home bakers I know.  They do a cookie exchange where you have a group of friends (say 6 of you) each of you make 6 batches of your fave cookie.  Then you get together and exchange batches.  Now you have 6 types of cookies with only the work on one type.

So during this Stockpile challenge I've had to get creative with the foods I've made.  I've had to make some items from scratch.  Some of the things I made from what I had kicking around the house:
-Maple Pecan Cookies
-Potato Leek Soup
-Sushi (subject of my previous post)

What is bao you may ask?  You know those steamed buns you get at the dim sum place?  Well they are super easy to make.  I used to make them all the time, but I just got lazy.  Well I cleaned out my baking cabinet during this challenge (to make it easier to make stuff from scratch) and I found the bag of bao flour. 

You can purchase bao flour at a chinese grocery and now most chain stores that have an international section.
You mix the flour with sugar and milk, let it rise for 20mins then divide the dough (this makes 12 buns that are a little smaller than your fist)  Flatten out the dough and spoon in a tablespoon or so of whatever you want on the inside.  Then fold the edges up and pinch the top together (I'm still developing my bun closing skills)

I made 3 types of buns:

Egg - I hard boiled an egg and cut it in half

 Sweet Potato - Boiled, mashed with some milk, butter, salt and pepper

Falafel - I had these chickpea falafel like patties in the freezer I just cooked them, then crumbled them up and scooped into the bun

After you have stuffed and closed your buns then you steam them.  It's best to use a bamboo steamer, which you can get pretty cheaply, again at a chinese grocery.  Steam them for 20 minutes (make sure to put them on pieces of waxed paper or they will stick to the bottom of your steamer)


Years ago my meat eating friends mad bao using mini sausages.  They just snipped open the casing and squeezed them into the buns.

Afterwards you can wrap the cooled left over buns in foil and put them in the freezer.  To reheat just take them out of the freezer and foil, let thaw for 10 minutes or so then steam for 10-15 minutes.  You can also warm them in the microwave as well.  I like to steam mine, then zap them in the microwave for a minute to make sure the insides are all hot.

So that's what I've been doing with my Stockpile challenge.  My next post will be about food for when the power goes out.

Be prepared and survive!

Monday, 5 November 2012

So far so good (and tasty!)

Well I'm on the third day of my "Stockpile Challenge" and so far I think I've been pretty good.

The puchases I've made:
1 english cucumber
1 sweet potato

Total cost of food purchases:

Some of the foods I've made up so far:
Eggs & Toast
Perogies (from deep in my freezer)
Bacon/Goat Cheese/Cranberry/Lettuce Sandwich (imitation bacon as I'm a vegetarian)
Caesar salad wrap
Homemade sushi

Now the last one I was excited about.  I had a bag of sushi rice and some vegetables, so yay for my version of california rolls.

My vegetables (sweet potatoes, asparagus, carrots, cucumber)
My happy rice cooker

My sushi plated up and ready to eat!

Link to help you make your own:
Perfect sushi rice
How to prep veggies for sushi rolls
How to roll sushi - it is very helpful to have a bamboo mat, which are cheap and make it super easy to roll the sushi roll

Any suggestions for what you would like to see on this blog?  Leave a comment below and let me know!

Also a couple people said that they felt woefully unprepared after reading my previous posts, but have no fear.  While I write a convincing post on BOB I don't have mine ready.  I only have a couple items in my car in case of an emergency.  So don't worry.  Just add one item a week (or a month) to your car kit, or BOB.  In time you'll have a nice kit put together.

Be prepared and stay safe

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Are you ready?

If suddenly the power went out, or the news said that we were at war, or that flu outbreak seems to be getting worse; would you be ready to survive?

Most literature out there suggests that it's good to have at least 72 hours of preparations ready to survive in case of a sudden disaster (natural - like the recent Sandy storm, biological - like the flu, etc)

So what does this mean?  Well first off you have to consider where you live and the season you will prepare for.  It's fine to have your survival kit set up for summer, but if an ice storm knocks out your power for 3 days, that swimsuit won't really help you.  Also you have to think about where you expect to be, will you be out in the woods where having a fire starting kit will come in handy, or are you in an apartment building where a small propane stove might serve you better?

So what is a survival kit?  Well they go by different names depending on it's purpose (there are more then I describe here):

Survival/Emergency Kit - usually a commercially available kit that has the basics for when you experience a natural disaster.  It has food, water, flashlight, radio and a first aid kit.  It is designed for when you want or need to stay where you are.  This is what you use while you are waiting for services to come back.

Bug out Bag - usually a kit that people design for themselves.  Often times all the supplies are contained within an easy to carry bag.  (one friend of mine had a vest - it was an army flak vest that he had clipped all the various supplies to.)  The purpose of a bug out bag (BOB) is when you plan to leave the situation you are in.  With that in mind, most contents are tailored for travel; light weight, small, and often includes shelter.  Items contained in a BOB can include: food (usually dehydrated), water purification system, flashlight, radio, tarp (for shelter), rope, first aid kit, clothing and some tools.

Emergency Road Kit - This is a kit that you have in your car.  This is if you car breaks down on the side of the road you have the tools/items to fix the problem or the things you need to survive until help arrives.  They usually include: jumper cables, bungee cords, tools (screwdriver, pliers, wrenches), flashlight, first aid kit, poncho, duct tape, pylons and car care guide.
Marine Safety Kit - This is for when you are on a watercraft.  In Canada you legally need to have one of these, even in small craft like a kayak.  These kits include: a floating rope (heaving line), waterproof flashlight, waterproof whistle, and a bailing bucket.

First Aid Kit - This is a kit that is used when there is a medical emergency (minor or otherwise).  These are often commercially available and they contain a number of different items based on the purpose of the kit.  Basic kits include: bandages, gauze, antiseptic wipes, gloves, burn cream, tweezers, and other minor wound care.  Some kits are activity specific, so there are wilderness first aid kits (often have more burn cream, blister treatment, elastic bandage for twisted ankles), or first responder ones (often have pocket masks, face shield, sutures, blood pressure cuff)  Items that are not always included in kits, but you should include in yours is medication.  Pain killers, stomach meds, cold meds, and most importantly any prescription medication.
 Wilderness Survival Kit - This kit is designed for when you are out in the wilderness and usually contains items that would be useful in that situation like: matches, snare wire, tarp, small knife, whistle, compass, rope, first aid kit, flashlight.

 This list is not all inclusive, and sometimes these kits overlap.

Some items that people often overlook when making BOB and emergency kits:
  • Important documents/identification (passports,  drivers licence, SIN card, credit card numbers, wills, insurance policies, etc.  Photocopies of these are a good idea)
  • Money (you might not be able to use your debit card, so make sure to have some cash and valuables that you can trade)
  • Personal effects (it might not seem important, but if your house is burnt down you may want to have a photo of your family, or your grandmothers ring)
  • A USB of important info/photos/items (most of us have our photos on our computers, but you might not have the time to grab it on your way out the door.  Also it's a lot easier to carry a USB of the contents than to lug your laptop around)
  • List of contact info (yes you have your mom's number in your cell phone, but it might die and then you can't contact your loved ones.  Also it's good to have addresses as well)
  • Map (it's good to have a city map, and/or a provincial/state map as googlemaps might not work)
  • Entertainment (if you loose power, having a pack of playing cards will come in handy, or some of those travel board games will entertain both you and your children)
  • Pencil and paper (pens will run out and don't always write.  You might need to draw maps, write notes, keep lists)
  • Luxury item (While having all the survival basics, sometimes it's nice to have a luxury item.  This could be some chocolate, a toy for your child, or some instant coffee, when the shit hits the fan (SHTF) it's sometimes really a moral booster if you can have just one small luxury)
  • Keys (spare key to your house, car, safety deposit box)
  • Toilet paper (trust me, you will want this.  You could even have a couple cloths that you wash and dry in the sun to sanitize, but you will want something to take care of things down below ;p)

So how to make your own BOB, first aid kit, survival kit?  There are plenty tools out there to help you; checklists, commercially available kits, and books.  I will post more info on this blog but here are some links to help you get started:

Get Prepared
This site is set up by the Canadian government.  It has a number a good guides on how to prepare (mostly for natural disasters)  It talk about setting up an emergency plan with your family.  It's all great if you know what your doing, but if you kids or spouse doesn't know the meeting place if there is a fire then everyone could be hurt or experience unneeded stress.  They even have a section about pets, who are often overlooked in an emergency situation.

Personal Emergency Kit Checklist
This site is again brought to you by the Canadian government.  It is a quick and dirty checklist.

Bug Out Bag Template
This site is full of zombie apocolype info, but within it, there are a lot of great resources.  This BOB checklist is really great as you can copy it and fill it in with what items you have and you can easily see what items you still need.

A challenge you can do see if you (and your family) is ready:

"Emergency/BOB kit preparedness Challenge"

Contact a friend or family member and explain that you are doing some emergency prep (don't say you are getting ready for the zombie apocalypse - only if your loved ones will understand and not think you're crazy).  Then tell them to call your house sometime within the next week.  Ask them to tell you
"Your house is on fire" or
"There is an ice storm and you just lost power"  or
"There's a flu pandemic happening"
"You have _____(insert time here) to get yourself/family ready."

Then they hang up and you have however much time to get you and your family ready.

"There has been a major storm and you have just lost power to your house.  Services will not be available for 72 hours.  You have 20 minutes to get your family ready to endure this emergency."

Then set a timer for 20 minutes and see how ready you actually are if this scenerio actually happened. (Do you have enough water if the water pumps stopped working?  Do you have enough candles/flashlights for 72 hours?  Do you have enough food, and the means to cook it?  What about clean underwear - and diapers if your child needs them?)

Be prepared and survive!

A challenge to start things off

The other day I was talking with a couple friends about prepping.  I told them that I have a bunch of food that I keep around, now this isn't crazy level stockpiling, but just keeping the kitchen full of food.  I have a normal fridge, a small chest freezer and 2 cupboards of non perishables in my kitchen.  Nothing overly stocked, just full shelves.

The challenge: "Stockpile Challenge" I would like to try eating out of my basic kitchen for two weeks only purchasing the basics (eggs, bread, milk, and maybe some fresh vegetables/fruit from time to time)  I have a freezer full of frozen veg, cans of soup sitting in my pantry and a ton of flour that could be turned into cookies, bread, pancakes, etc.

The purpose:  To see if I have enough food in stock (minus the basics) to survive on for two weeks and how creative I can become with those items.  I have a ton of cookbooks, so I'm sure I can whip something up.  As well, save money on food purchases, and use up old stock and packaged meals so as to allow for a healthier restart of my diet.  (I eat too much packaged food >_< )

The timeline:  Two weeks.

The terms:  I can only purchase the basics (eggs, bread and milk.  As well as additional fresh fruit and vegetables) to supplement my food supply.  I will post a list of items purchased and the total cost.  I will also post about the various meals I have created, with recipes if applicable.

The challenge begins Saturday November 3, 2012 and runs until Saturday November 17, 2012

Friday, 2 November 2012

The start of the adventure

To start off some general info about me:
I'm in my 30's, I was born and raised in the city (and still live in the same city), I'm Canadian and I'm in average shape.  I like the outdoors, camping, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, and etc.  I've also had an interest in survival stuff be it man made, natural or supernatural (OMG zombies!) disaster. 

I'm not some crazy gung-ho prepper that has a Hazmat suit, a buttload of guns and a stockpile of canned goods that would make those people on Extreme Couponing jealous.  I have some basic camping gear, a couple of knives and a few swords (mostly for decoration), a basic recurve bow, and a few books on edible and medicinal plants.  I like to keep a reasonable amount of food in my kitchen, and I usually go on a H-core camping trip with my boyfriend once or twice a year.

I spend some time over at Survivalist Forum reading up on what some other people are doing.  As well I like to read some websites about making a BOB (bug out bag - when you need to flee your home, your BOB should last you around 72 hours of basic survival needs), plant usage, and camping.

So what am I planning for this blog?  First off I would like to add my voice to the survivalist hoard, as both a woman and a Canadian.  I've found that many of the blogs, sites, forums are more tailored to the American followers and well I can't just pop over to Walmart or a local gun shop to get myself a gun.  As well, a number of other defensive items are banned or at least heavily regulated in Canada.  Personally I've never felt the need to a gun, but then that might just be my Canadian sensibilities talking.

Also I would like to speak to prepping in a basic, reasonable, sane way.  I'm not some uber fit athlete, I'm not someone with oodles of disposable income, I'm not someone who grew up with hunting and living on the land, nor am I some crazy conspiracy theorist who thinks that the world is doomed.  I'm just an average girl from an average town in an average country; but that doesn't mean I don't want to have at least a fighting chance in case something happens.  I mean, imagine a world where only the super fit, high paid, hunting, conspiracy theorists survive?

I would like to share about my beginning preps, what I've done so far and what I plan to do in the future.  So grab your BOB and join me in my adventure!