Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Shopping and inventory

On Saturday, we spent the day together going to a few new stores too look around and eventually hit the local Sams Club since I got paid for some side work. We visited a natural foods co-op, where I found stevia and got a small box of 50 packets. I've been using it since in my iced tea and am getting very used to the taste. At first, I noticed a bit of an aftertaste, but now after a few days, I don't notice it at all. It takes a LOT less stevia to get the same sweetness that you do from sugar. Articles I have read state that stevia is between 10-20x as sweet as sugar in it's refined and powdered form. It can be used just like sugar or any artificial sweetener, and is calorie free, and perfectly safe versus the manmade artificials. We plan to switch to it and honey as much as possible, which will mean finding it in reasonably priced bulk bags rather than tiny packets.

The trip to Sams almost completely restocked the bulk items in the pantry. We got 50lbs of flour, bread flour, sugar, and 25lbs of brown sugar. We were hoping to find whole wheat flour and brown rice, but they don't carry either. We'll just find another source. Other than a case of TP, everything else was just plain groceries. Later this week when I get some more cash, we'll hit the local grocery stores for the items we have circled in the ad flyers. There are quite a few buy1/get one, 10/$10 and 5/$5 sales that we will take advantage of and continue to restock the pantries. We also need to restock the shelves of cleaning supplies, and supplies to make our laundry detergent. I plan on getting (minimum) 2 each of Fels Naptha, Zoat, washing soda, and Borax, which are the four ingredients for the laundry detergent.

Beyond food and cleaning supplies, we got a good look at the medicine cabinet and bathroom cupboard on Sunday. There are things that we are low on or out of that we shouldn't be. Some things should ALWAYS be here, but somehow right now they just aren't.The kitchen items will be mainly spices and additives, though some will be things that we can't or don't grow for ourselves. Lisa had our usual Sunday dinner guests stop and get her Advil because we were out, and that made us go take a long overdue inventory. We'll be getting a minimum of 2 each of pain relievers, cough medicine, antihystamines, decongestants,feminine products, shampoo, and first aid type of supplies like peroxide, iodine, and more bandages. I hate the fact that we are low or out of these things, and despise the thought that if our friends weren't coming over, I would have driven to the store just to get one item. That's one of our main motivations for storing/prepping. It's not so much for emergencies and such as it is convienence. I'd rather have everything we need here at home than have to worry about going to the store for something as simple as Advil. This Saturday we will be taking an inventory of everything in the house, comparing it to the inventory sheets we have neglected, and make out a shopping list.

In keeping with our wanting to preserve food, and our desire to now eat healthier, we have decided to save for a semi-expensive purchase. We've talked long and hard about it, and after some reading, watching videos, and listening to a TSP podcase, we are going to buy an Excalibur dehydrator. We already have 2 of the smaller ones, one with a fan and one without, but neither have the size or the options that the Excalibur does. They have a temperature setting, timer, and have the fan in the back rather than in the bottom like one of our round ones. (the fan in the bottom pushes/pulls the water through several layers to the top, where the Excalibur pushed it straight out the front) We dehydrated a lot over the last year, and planned on doing more. It's just more feesable with an Excalibur. We did mushrooms, onions, apples, bananas, and a few peppers. This year we want to do more for several reasons. Dehydrating retains more nutrients in food over freezing or canning, storing in bags takes up less space than canning jars, and we can dehydrate fruits and vegetables for snacks rather than buy something out of the box from the store. Though I'm not keen on the idea of using more plastic bags to store things in after they've been dehydrated, we'll use ziplock style bags that can be washed and re-used. They're around $250, but have a great waranty, and will be something we use enough to pay for itself rather quickly.

Now with the new bigger dehydrator and diet change in mind, garden plans will change yet again. We won't only be growing more to eat fresh, but we'll be growing more to store, and more to dehydrate. This will mean MORE potato's, more onions, more peppers, and adding other vetetables to the list for the dehydrator for basic food ingredients. Some fruits we want to dehydrate we simply can't grow here, but we will watch for those things on sale at the store or at local markets. We'll of course add more and save plenty to can, but we're taking everything into condsideration and planning from there. So, once again, the garden grows as we take another step in our journey to a better life. Something new always seems to happen every year, just like every year we seem to umnplug ourselves from something unnecessary. We are constantly growing here, whether it be personally or in our homesteading goals. Each new step gives us new experiences, new knowledge, and less reliance on the machine. I love our adventures, I wouldn't trade this life together for anything.


LizBeth said...

Keep us posted on the dehydrator. We've been thinking about getting one, too. I'd much rather do that than getting a larger freezer.

Enjoy your blog. You mentioned earlier growing up with a lot of this self-sufficient stuff, so it's not new to you. If you have the time and inclination, we'd enjoy hearing more about all the things you are used to that the rest of us are learning.

All the best,

dgr said...

We're building a solar dehydrator this year. I'll let you know how that works out. Also, our food saver has an attatchment that lets me vacuume seal in canning jars doing away with the plastic worries. It even uses used canning lids to do this, saving even more money. You probably already knew this but I wanted to make sure!

Anonymous said...


We have an Excalibur and LOVE it! We have done so much dehydrating over the past two years....and everything tastes great. We actually prefer to eat the dehydrated locally-grown, organic sweet corn as a treat rather than chips or anything else. It is so very sweet - absolutely yummy.

AND....the Excalibur is American-made.....keeping folks here working!

I know you'll love it. We have also used it to dry bread for croutons and bread crumbs AND we dehydrate slices of bagels for quick snacks too. We've saved a lot of food which was about to
turn by dehydrating it!

Good choice...and worth every penny!

MaMaBear in the Mitten

Barb and Steve said...

We have an Excalibur too. I use it for making flax crackers. You can add just about anything to them (pumpkin, zucchini, etc.) and spice them up to be sweet or spicy. I'll have to post the recipe on my blog.

Leasmom said...

Chris, we're doing similiar things, stocking up. It makes it easier when you don't have to go out.

Myussop said...

Changing lifestyle is an adventure in life that requires true spirit,grit and commitment. I admire your preserverance. Keep on with living 'more with less'. Your experience is more fulfilling than I could imagine.

Barb and Steve said...

Hi Chris...I posted a link to your blog on mine & put a recipe on there that I hope you will enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Good stuff you're writing! Keep it up - as to the Excalibur, I'm planning on one or two also - visit Tammy at Dehydrate2Store - she has fabulous recipes, how-to videos, etc and EXCALIBUR GIVEAWAYS on her blog. Go to the EXCALIBUR website - some of her videos are there. She is an amazing food storage/dehydrating guru and is a wonderful, sweet lady as well! Love her! Jenn in WA -

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