Dear Neighbor,

Dear Neighbor,

I know many of us cook from scratch, which is wonderful. However, there could be  a time where you need to just tear a bag open or dig in a can and eat. If you don’t make friends with some canned and prepared foods, you may be very hungry, one day.

While I was house sitting, I peered into my friend’s packed and beautiful walk-in pantry. The scent of spices somehow broke through the beautifully lined and labeled Tupperware containers, making my mouth water. White five gallon buckets lined the floor containing wheat berries, lentils and other grains. There was a lot of food in there but the amazing thing was, there was absolutely nothing to eat… quickly that is. She had a fussy or high maintenance pantry.

Lentils and grains take a long time to cook, even in a pressure cooker. Long grain rice takes nearly an hour. I don’t know if you have ever lived through a power outage for any length of time but when you can’t crank up the stove, slow cooker or all the gadgets we use to cook, it comes down to cooking over a fire. Is that even practical or available for you?

If you have a power shortage, how would you cook your food if you have limited energy to heat it? Look at the meals you have on your list and make sure you have simple meals and snacks that don’t need a lot of energy to cook. These foods are good to have anyway. We all have days where we just need to grab and go or just have a quick meal. Don’t worry about quality; you can find natural or organic in all of these prepared foods or make them yourself.

A couple of things I have in my pantry besides those things already mentioned in my original letter in the P.O. Box, Step 4-Plan Your Meals:

Toaster Pastries- don’t even need to be heated. Good for breakfast or a snack.

Canned refried beans or Black Bean Dip. Unheated refried beans taste a lot like bean dip and really can be eaten without heating. Add taco seasoning to them for that “dip” taste.

Salsa

Blue corn chips

Chick peas for hummus

Canned and dried fruit

Nuts or trial mix

Whole grain crackers

Chocolate! Even if it is chocolate chips, have something that is a bit luxurious in your pantry.

 Don’t be caught with a lot of food that takes a lot of fuss and don’t fear prepared foods. You can have simple and healthy at the same time.

Happy Homesteading, Scarlett

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