Tips for Stockpiling

It seems each of us has prepared for the world’s pandemic in different ways. There are many items that average consumers are having difficulty buying, such as toilet paper and hand sanitizer. With the thought that the pandemic may cause a complete quarantine or lockdown of our world, it’s important to know what you should have stockpiled at home. In fact, taking action can actually soothe your fears. 

Schools have already shut down and many areas are on restrictions for social gatherings or even dining out. This is simply how our life is right now. It’s been said that if any area is about to go on complete lockdown you’ll have 1-2 day notice so that you can be fully ready. That’s why I wanted to share some tips, as it sounds like you’ll have 1-2 days to get that stockpile prepared.

Tips for Stockpiling

These are fantastic tips for creating a stockpile that won't leave you broke or with food you won't eat!

Take inventory

Take look in your cupboards, fridge and freezers to see what you already have on hand. You may actually be surprised at what you already have! It may not be exciting, delicious food, but it will keep you fed! To help you out, I have a Freezer Inventory printable here and a Pantry Inventory printable here.

Stock up your family’s Essentials

The first step is to make sure you have the essentials. By this, I mean to stock up on what your family regularly eats. Families have been advised to stockpile at least two weeks’ worth of food. I highly suggest you get food that can be frozen or has a long shelf life to keep the food healthy longer. Prioritize those items you really can’t live without like baby formula or foods for special diets. When this all blows over, you don’t want to find you have spent a fortune stocking up or be stuck with food you don’t like. Focus on buying a few extras of what you normally consume. Make a list to keep yourself on track at the grocery store or when you’re placing a grocery order.

Make a Meal Plan

Sit down in the near future and make a list of meals you can create with your essentials. Make sure you account for drinks, breakfasts, lunches, dinners and of course, snacks. With a meal plan in place, your food won’t go to waste and you’ll spend less money.

Planning a menu is simple. First, print off two copies of this weekly menu planner. This resource will allow you to plan breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks. Next, start writing in meals that you know you like, based on foods that you already have and what can last awhile. If you need some meal ideas, here are our family’s favourites.

Focus on pantry meals

By this, I mean meals you can create using canned goods like beans, tomatoes and even canned tuna or chicken. Rice and pasta are excellent for pantry meals. Items like cheese and milk can even be frozen. Basically, focus on items with a long shelf life. Some fresh produce like apples, carrots, oranges, and celery have a longer shelf life compared with other counterparts like fresh berries.

These are just a few tips for stockpiling that will ensure you’re prepared to keep your family happy, healthy and fed for an extended amount of time. I’ve seen a lot of people out there panic buying and will have too much stuff after the fact or perhaps are going too deep into the financial hole due to panic. The key is to make sure that you’re able to financially afford your stockpile and be smart about what you spend money on for your stockpile.

8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas: Plan your Food

I think this will be a fun week in the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series!  It’s all about food! Specifically, we’re going to plan our holiday menus.  You’ll want to think about:

  • Christmas dinner
  • Christmas brunch
  • Christmas eve
  • Boxing day

And well, any meal surrounding Christmas day.  My planning is quite simple.  My parents cook our Christmas brunch and dinner so all I have to do is bring the cheesecake and some baking!

For inspiration, I highly recommend taking a look through Pinterest.

While you’re planning out your dishes, be sure to start adding items to a grocery list.  You don’t want to forget anything!

To help you out, you’ll want to check out the Christmas dinner planner and grocery list that are available in the Holiday Planner, here.

Also be sure to print off the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas checklists to make sure you’re on track for the final week’s until Christmas day!

What will be on your holiday menu?  Leave it in the comments! Any food traditions you have to uphold?  How do you keep on budget?

Sign up for the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas newsletter to receive a FREE Christmas Dinner Checklist!  This checklist is quite detailed and will help you remember all the details needed for a memory filled dinner with family and friends. You’ll also receive a weekly email with each week’s “task”.

Here are the posts in the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series so far:

7 Seasoning Spice Recipes You Can Make At Home

Nothing beats home-cooked meals and knowing exactly what you’re feeding your family. It’s even better when the spices you use are those you’ve made yourself. Rather than using store bought spices that have ingredients you can’t pronounce!

Let’s take a look at 7 seasoning spices you can make at home.

Nothing beats home-cooked meals and knowing exactly what you’re feeding your family. It’s even better when the spices you use are those you’ve made yourself! Here are 7 seasoning spices you can make at home!

Homemade Ranch Seasoning

Ranch seasoning is a popular choice in many households. Ranch seasoning can be used to make dips, dressing, added to sauces, and as an ingredient in recipes from meatloaf to pasta salad.

Here’s how to make your own:

  • ½ cup dry buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dried chives
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill 
  • salt and pepper

Mix it all together and keep in an airtight container, such as a mason jar or plastic container.  This mix can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 months.

Curry Seasoning

Curry has its origins in Asia and gives a flavorful and spicy twist to your recipes. Instead of using store bought curry mixes, you can make your own.

Here’s how to make curry seasoning:

  • 2 tablespoons coriander
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • ¾ teaspoon ground mustard
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix well and store in an airtight container.  This is enough for seasoning one meal, or you can multiply it and keep the mix for up to a year to be used in future recipes.

Taco Seasoning

Who doesn’t love tacos? Everyone likes their taco seasoning a little different, but being able to make your own, to your own taste ensures you will have the perfect Taco Tuesday each week.

Here’s how to make taco seasoning:

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano

This recipe is enough for 1lb of ground beef.  Adjust the amount for more meat or multiply and keep in an airtight container for future use.

Jerk Seasoning

The Caribbean has given us dishes that have the mix of sweet and spicy flavors. This Jamaican jerk seasoning will add this great flavor to your next Carribean themed meal.

Here’s how to make your own: 

  • 2 teaspoons allspice
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley

This recipe will work for 2 lbs of meat. If you mix it ahead of time, be sure to put it in an airtight container and it will keep for at least 3 months. 

Chili Seasoning

What’s better on a cool fall night than a steaming hot bowl of chili? This recipe will work for 1lb of your choice of meat.  

As with the others, if you want to mix up a batch to keep for later use be sure to put it in an airtight container.  It will keep for up to a year.

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon thyme

Cajun Seasoning

Getting Cajun flavor just right can be very tricky, but once you get the right mix, you’ll be set. Cajun seasoning can be used in chicken and seafood dishes, here’s the mix you need: 

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne

Mix well and make more if you want to store it,  The mix will last up to 1 year.

Italian Seasoning

Italian seasoning is another one that gets used in many dishes.

This Italian seasoning recipe is good to be used with your choice of meats, pastas, pizzas, and any other Italian dishes. 

  • 1 ½ teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon basil
  • ½ teaspoon sage
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper

Spices don’t really “go bad”, they might lose their flavor or potency, but they won’t make you sick.  Most spices last from 1-3 years.  

If you make a spice mix that incorporates things other than just spices, that would be what determines the shelf life.  For example: the Ranch above has dry buttermilk, so that would be what determines how long you can store it and where it needs to be stored.

Hopefully these recipes will help add some “spice” to your life in the form of delicious meals!

Road Trip Snacks You’re Going to Love

Our family is about to head out on, what we hope will be an epic road trip, to Winnipeg. We are all so excited to see family, play with cousins, see new sights and make memories!

But, I’m not going to lie and say that I’m not anxious at all. Haha no. This will be our very first major trip since our youngest daughter was born. That was more than three years ago! She was a terrible sleeper for the first 3 years of her life so the thought of sleeping anywhere but home would practically make me sweat.

But here we are, just days away from our road trip and I have been in planner mode all week trying to calm my nerves. I have multiple lists going on for car activities, packing essentials and, my favourite, snacks. No road trip is complete without snacks!

Thanks to FreshCo, our snacking has been taken care of. I popped in the other day and grabbed our must-haves as well as some fun new things to try. Because the in-season produce selection at FreshCo is amazing, we will have a great selection of fresh fruit added to our dry goods. Not only is the quality of products noteworthy, the prices are the best in town – you can’t beat that!

And guess what? There are two new FreshCo stores in Winnipeg that opened this spring! I’ll be making a pit stop to restock on food for the car ride back.

Since I always like to see what other families bring along on road trips, I thought you would like that as well. So today I’m excited to share a list of our snacks! I also have a fun way that I have packed some snacks for the girls that I think you might enjoy or find helpful too.

First of all, here’s a list of the fresh produce we will bring along this time:

  • Watermelon (cut up into sticks)
  • Grapes
  • Blueberries
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Carrot sticks
  • Apples

This will all be kept in a cooler that we will bring out when we make stops to stretch and get gas.

Now for the fun surprise for the girls. I picked up a couple of divided organizers from the dollar store that I filled with a variety of healthy and not so healthy snacks (but always a crowd favourite!) from FreshCo. I think they are going to love the smorgasbord of choices. The organizers aren’t that big so when they finish the tray, I’ll refill them during one of our stops.

Here is a list of what’s in the divided organizers:

  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Chocolate Coconut Chips
  • Dried pineapple
  • Beef jerky
  • Dried mango
  • a Sucker
  • Pretzels
  • Fruit snacks
  • Goldfish crackers

Here is a complete list of our road trip snacks (Find a printable version here):

  • Watermelon
  • Blueberries
  • Grapes
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Carrot sticks
  • Apples
  • Potato chips
  • Juice boxes
  • Water
  • Pretzels
  • Goldfish crackers
  • Chocolate Coconut Chips
  • Dried mango and pineapple
  • Suckers
  • Fruit snacks
  • Seaweed (My girls love seaweed!)
  • Raisins
  • Beef jerky
  • Oreos
  • Apple sauce squeeze pouches
  • Homemade Banana Spelt Muffins

Nuts would also be a great choice, but we’re trying to avoid them with my youngest. However, I think that list above will be plenty to get us there! We’ll stock up again on our way home.

Now I’m wondering. What sort of snacks do you like to bring along on road trips?

Next week, I’m going to have a list of all the car activities I have planned so be sure to watch for that post! #Sponsored

10 Quick And Easy Meal Prep Ideas For Summer

Summer is almost here! Can you feel the heat and the excitement?

This season is all about outings, get-togethers, swimming, and vacations! There are more opportunities to spend more time with your family and friends. Catch up, enjoy, and explore new locations!

Of course, any summer activity would not be complete without food!

If you want healthy and home cooked meals, you don’t need to spend a lot of time (Who has extra time in the summer anyway?) The secret is all about meal prepping. You can create different meals for different times of the day without the hassle and without overspending on take out.

If you want to create a meal plan this summer for your family, here are 10 quick and easy meal prep ideas that will help.

If you want to create a meal plan this summer for your family, here are 10 quick and easy meal prep ideas that will help.

Create A Plan

Decide on the different kinds of food that you want to prepare ahead of time. Take note of all the recipes you want to prepare and cook for the whole week. Then write down all the ingredients you need on your shopping list.

Start Multitasking

Cook multiple recipes at the same time. You can roast summer vegetables while baking chicken. This will allow you to get things done faster.

Don’t Over Prep

Don’t prepare meals for five days or more at one time. Some foods, such as fresh summer produce, may not last for more than three days in the fridge and you might end up with a lot of spoiled, wasted food.

Use Your Grill

Summer is often too hot to turn on the oven because it heats up the house. Instead, prepare meats and vegetables to cook outdoors on the grill, after all summer is time to grill! Schedule some barbecue nights and grill fresh summer vegetables. They not only taste great, you can relax on a warm summer evening with your family while grilling outside.

Be sure to cook up plenty of meats so you have leftovers for other nights!

Prepare Raw Food

Vegetables like zucchini and cucumber can not only be paired with different fruits and veggies, it can make you feel cooler, especially during the hot summer months.

Spiral some zucchini and cucumber then blend them with basil pesto for a vegan pasta recipe. You can also schedule some no-cook options like canned corn, beans, and green salads to spice up your weekly schedule.

Utilize Your Slow Cooker

You might think that your slow cooker is only for winter, but this multipurpose appliance is also ideal for summer cooking!

You don’t need to heat up your whole house while waiting for your lunch or dinner to be cooked. Start making large batches of shredded meat or beans then freeze them in smaller portions. You can also cook potatoes, corn, and carrots in your slow cooker.

The Instant Pot is also ideal for summer cooking!

Glass Over Plastic

Plastics can be cheaper but using glass containers are better. Here are just a few of the many reasons why you should choose glass over plastic containers:

  • The contents are easier to see.
  • You can microwave them.
  • The taste of the food will not be altered, even if you leave them in the container for several days.
  • Glass doesn’t release any chemicals when exposed to heat, thus making it safer for your family’s health.

Reuse Leftovers

Make extra servings of your meals for dinner then eat the leftovers for breakfast or lunch. My husband loves taking leftovers to work!

Reusing leftovers makes it easier to plan your meals because you don’t need to think about the food you’ll eat for lunch every day. It also eliminates wasted food and cleaning out the fridge.

Buy The Best Bread You Can Get Your Hands On

Did you know that all the outdoor activities of summer can cause you to feel more hungry and more often?

Opt to get whole grain breads, especially if you’ll be having sandwiches for any of your meals.

Look for a bread that is made with 100 percent whole grain. Bread with lots of texture makes you feel like you are eating an actual meal, which can make you feel fuller, faster, rather than just eating a sandwich.

Cook Once A Day

Prepare all your food in one go then store them in your glass containers so you can just heat them up once your mealtime comes.

Check your schedule then look for a block time when you can cook and prep your meals on a daily basis.

Stop spending a lot of time thinking and prepping your meals for the whole week. With enough preparation, you can feed yourself and your family with healthy and delicious meals without spending much time or money.

What are your summer meal prep tips? Let us know in the comments below!

Chickpea Curry with Rice

If you follow me on Facebook, Instagram or even Twitter, you may know that I recently got to visit FreshCo, the brand new discount grocery store that opened in Mission, BC and is now open in Richmond with two locations (Blundell and Broadmoor)! I’m thrilled that they are expanding out west from Ontario. I was really impressed with the deals, fresh produce, and selection of items that they carry!

Speaking of selection, FreshCo has a great international selection. This is especially exciting because the girls and I have been enjoying creating something new together on the weekends. I have so many new recipes to try after perusing the international selection!

In fact, I want to share the recipe for our latest creation with you today. It turned out better than I thought because, if I’m being honest, my girls can be quite picky, but they ate this one all up! I think that because the flavours were not too strong as well the fact that they were helping me had them excited to try their creation!

We have discovered my youngest has a few food sensitivities that we are trying to eliminate and this curried chickpea recipe checks all the items on her safe foods list. It’s perfect for the vegans out there too!

May I present… delicious Chickpea Curry with rice!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 – 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil (I like grape seed oil)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 cup canned coconut milk
  • Parsley or Cilantro for garnish
  • Salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1 cup rice ( I used jasmine rice)

DIRECTIONS:

Step 1: Prepare your rice according to the package directions. Once cooked, cover and set aside.

Step 2: Meanwhile, in a food processor, add onion, tomatoes, garlic and ginger then coarsely chop until it’s a nice salsa-like consistency.

Step 3: In a big frying pan, add cooking oil. Heat up then add the onion and tomato mixture. Cook until the water evaporates and the mixture is soft. About 5 – 6 minutes.

Step 4: Add the cumin, curry and paprika. Sauté for 1 minute.

Step 5: Make sure to sneak some chickpeas behind Mom’s back!

Step 6: Add the chickpeas and the vegetable broth to the frying pan. Stir to combine and bring to a boil on medium-high heat.

Step 7: Cook mixture until the water has been absorbed by the sauce. About 7 – 10 minutes.

Step 8: Turn off the stove, then add the coconut milk. Stir to incorporate. Taste, then add salt if desired.

Step 9: Serve over your cooked rice and garnish with parsley or cilantro. Enjoy!

The girls had a lot of fun adding the ingredients at each step. My oldest especially had fun with using the food processor!

When you give this recipe a try, be sure to check out the international selection at your nearest FreshCo. They’ve got such great deals that this is sure to be a budget friendly meal your family will love!

Wondering what is on sale at FreshCo this week? Take a look at their flyer here, and if you want to learn more about FreshCo, click here: http://bit.ly/FreshCO1  #Sponsored

Chickpea Curry with Rice
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 can chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 small onion chopped finely
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 – 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil I like grape seed oil
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp curry
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 cup canned coconut milk
  • salt adjust to taste
  • parsley or cilantro for garnish
  • 1 cup rice
Instructions
  1. Prepare your rice according to the package directions. Once cooked, cover and set aside.

  2. Meanwhile, in a food processor, add onion, tomatoes, garlic and ginger then coarsely chop
    until it's a nice salsa-like consistency.

  3. In a big frying pan, add cooking oil. Heat up then add the onion and tomato
    mixture. Cook until the water evaporates and the mixture is soft. About 5 – 6
    minutes.

  4. Add the cumin, curry and paprika. Sauté for 1 minute.

  5. Add the chickpeas and the vegetable broth to the frying pan. Stir to combine and
    bring to a boil on medium-high heat.

  6. Cook mixture until the water has been absorbed by the sauce. About 7 – 10 minutes.

  7. Turn off the stove, then add the coconut milk. Stir to incorporate. Taste, then add
    salt if desired.

  8. Serve over your cooked rice and garnish with parsley or cilantro. Enjoy!