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Clutter Free Academy Podcast # 404
Ready for Anything – Food
Kathi – Well, hey friends. Welcome to Clutter Free Academy, where our goal is to help you take small, doable steps to live every day with less clutter and more life. Welcoming back to the program, my co-host, the leader of Clutter Free Academy and all things, Tonya Kubo. Hey, Tonya.
Tonya – Hey, Kathi.
Kathi – Oh my goodness, so, here we are talking about my book, Ready for Anything with the subtitle, Preparing Your Heart and Home for Any Crisis Big or Small. People have been calling me Sylvia Browne.
Tonya – I was like, “Wait! I know that name!” My childhood just came rushing back.
Kathi – She was, basically, a scam artist. She predicted the future. Apparently, she predicted a flu-like thing that was going to happen in 2020. Now, she died in 2013, so I would think you’d be able to predict your own death, too. Regardless, people are asking me how I predicted that this book needed to come out at this time. Let’s be clear. The word ‘pandemic’ never shows up in this book.
Tonya – There are a lot of things that don’t show up in this book. Pandemic. Stay-at-Home Order.
Kathi – Shelter-in-place. I do talk about if you have to be in your home for two weeks and that’s what we’re going to be talking about today.
Tonya – My favorite topic.
Kathi – Yes. There are many crises where you do have to shelter in place. You do have to be prepared not to leave your house. Now, for me, that’s usually being snowed in, which has already happened this week, by the way. We’ve already had to dig ourselves out of The Red House at one point. Now, people are like, “You went to The Red House?” Trust me. It’s the ultimate in social distancing. We don’t have to talk to anybody. We did not see another human being the whole time we were there, which is fine. What I want to talk about is, what we should have on hand. Is this hardcore prepping? What’s the difference between hardcore prepping and being ready for anything? So, the very first thing to be home for two weeks, you have to have a few things. You have to have two weeks’ worth of water. This is something people often forget, the whole water thing. They go to Costco and they buy their little water bottles, but if your water gets disrupted, you need about a gallon of water for every person in your house for every day you’re there. Plus you have pets. Now, it is kind of funny that Red Cross says that I need a gallon of water for each of my pets. The big pet I have is the cat who’s fourteen pounds. Then I have Moose who probably drinks a quarter cup of water a day. Maybe more. So, I don’t think I really need a gallon per pet per day. Maybe a gallon per pet every other day. Definitely a gallon per person because, not only are you drinking this water, you’re also cleaning up with it. You’re doing dishes, that kind of thing. So, a gallon per day is very realistic. Also, power. What’s your power going to look like? In California, we’ve had earthquakes, where our power has gone out for days, if not weeks. Do you have a barbeque you can grill on? Think about those things. Today I want to talk about two weeks’ worth of food. I think this is the thing that is, one, the most complex, and two, so important to our current situation. So, Tonya, how much food do you think you have on hand, right now?
Tonya – Well, I definitely have two weeks of food on hand, easily. Now, it might not be two weeks of food that everybody wants to eat, right? The first thing I did when I realized our ability to go out was going to be hampered was inventory my pantry, inventory my freezer, inventory my fridge.
Kathi – You have learned well, Grasshopper.
Tonya – I feel like the youngest Jedi. It serves two purposes. I think that it’s really important to bring this up for our listeners. The first thing it did was put me in a position of power. When the news came in that, “Hey, you need to stay at home. You can go grocery shopping, but who knows what you’re going to find when you get to the grocery store.” It’s very easy to spiral. So, I was like, “You know what? I should know what’s in my freezer outside and I should know what’s in here.” So, by looking at it, I was like, “Oh. We’re okay.” So, the first thing I was able to do after that was, we get meat delivered to our home. So, the first thing I was able to do was skip that delivery. This saved me money, but it also put meat out there for somebody who was not in the same position as me, to buy it.
Kathi – It’s so huge. It’s such a gift to be able to do that. Not one everybody was able to do. Here’s the thing. A lot of us were not stocked up with two weeks of food. You know me. I had plenty of stuff for a couple of reasons. One, I’m ready for anything, and two, we have guests who come to The Red House all the time, so we’re stocked up with food for that. So, between being at my mom’s house and what we had at The Red House, we’re going to be just fine for quite a while to come. I also know that it’s a little weird to try to stock up now. Like you said, you don’t know, necessarily, what’s at the store. You don’t have all of those things, necessarily, dialed in. So, I want to talk about “What do you do now?” So, Tonya already told you the first thing to do. Start with an inventory. See what you have right now. A lot of what you have, you can probably mix and match to create meals that you may not have thought of before. Now that you have your inventory, I want to talk about hardcore prepping vs Ready for Anything. So, if you on to prepping websites, and can I just be honest? I really don’t encourage people to go on to prepping websites. They can go down some deep, dark rabbit holes. I don’t think any of us are in a position where we need to be that desperate. A lot of those prepper websites are trying to scare you into buying large amounts of food. That’s not what you need to do. If you go to those websites, you may be convinced that you need to order thousands of dollars of food in specially sealed tubs. It really depends on your circumstances. I think that, for most of us, what we need to do is to always have, on hand, two weeks’ worth of food that is shelf stable. So, shelf stable means it’s going to be able to last a long time. It’s not going to deteriorate over a week or a couple of weeks. Tonya, tell me what your family does. For us, it’s a lot of things like stewed tomatoes, pasta, rice, canned meat, flavorings, salad dressings, those kinds of things. Salad dressings aren’t just for salads. They’re also marinades and things like that. What kind of shelf stable things have you stocked up on?
Tonya – So, my family really loves tuna.
Kathi – That’s good!
Tonya – The seasoned tunas are nice, right? Those give you variety. So, tuna, crackers are big on the shelf stable front. Other things are, quinoa, which is a little weird, but that’s what we do. We have a daughter that has food allergies, so I have a lot of weird flours and yeast to make my own bread and make crackers. Chips. We realized we get a lot of joy out of potato chips.
Kathi – For Roger, it’s corn chips. Those are his jam. So, I told you about a tuna thing and you said we have to share with our listeners.
Tonya – Yes! We fulfilled our promise. We shared that recipe two episodes ago. Let’s talk about that.
Kathi – Right, so this is my daughter’s boyfriend. You’ve got a little too much glee in your eye. We are not in the same room, guys. We’re on Zoom. She’s so excited about this. This is College Student Tuna Noodle Casserole. This is so funny. I can’t wait to share it with you guys. So, it’s a cup of Ramen noodles, but you don’t use the flavor packet. I thought that was really interesting. I had no idea. So, you can keep that flavor packet for something else. Don’t throw it away. You might want to use it for chicken soup, or something like that. Right? So, you just cook the noodles, and while you’re cooking the noodles, you make a little tuna salad. However you like the tuna salad. So, put some mayo in there. You could make tuna with some cream of celery soup. However you like to have tuna salad. Then what you do, you put the noodles into a bowl. You put the tuna on top and then you take a slice of American cheese and you heat that up in the microwave. My daughter’s boyfriend? This is his favorite food in the entire world. This is my gourmet suggestion for you and all of our listeners.
Tonya – So, first of all, I love creativity. When I worked at a newspaper, I was a copyeditor. There’s was a cookbook that used to float around about things you could make using the breakroom supplies. So, there was tomato soup made from ketchup packets. I mean, it was a whole thing. Cadillac Coffee, which was yesterday’s coffee, microwaved with cocoa mix. It was a whole thing. So, fun fact for our listeners: Growing up, we didn’t have a lot of money. My favorite meal was a meal that my mom was ashamed that, when I was an adult I would talk about it. It was a box of mac and cheese, (which our Canadian friends call Kraft Dinner) mixed with ground beef, a can of tomatoes or tomato sauce, depending on what you had, and a can of corn.
Kathi – I’ve heard of this before.
Tonya – To this day, seriously, I don’t eat any of that stuff anymore, right? But I have such happy memories as a kid of eating a bowl of that. My mom was like, “Do you remember when I put hotdogs in it?” And I’m like, “No, I only remember the ground beef, the canned corn and the little chunks of tomato.” It made me so happy. So, to hear about this tuna ramen casserole, it just brings me back to that. I think we, as parents, bringing us back to this topic, we think we have to do all these things perfectly. I think the greatest thing about preparing for food in a crisis is to realize it can be very simple.
Kathi – Well, and here’s the thing. Tell me if I’m wrong. Are you considered a Millennial or a Gen X-er?
Tonya – I’m too young to be a Gen X-er and too old to be a Millennial.
Kathi – Okay, we’re adopting you. Here’s the thing. The Gen X-ers, I’ve been watching all these things floating around about how this is our time. Like, we made the weird food combinations. My friend, Michael said, what he used to do is, he would put a slice of white bread, he’d put Quik powder on it, but a slice of American cheese, put more Quik powder on it, right?
Tonya – A chocolate and cheese sandwich. I’m dying.
Kathi – That sounds like the worst thing I’ve ever heard.
Tonya – My stomach just flipped.
Kathi – He said it was amazing. “Trust me.” I was like, “I am going to trust you because I’m not going to try it.” I think this is where our Gen X latchkey skills come in service really well. Hey, the Boomers have got it under control. The Millennials are the socially connected. As Gen X-ers, we’re going to get through no matter what happens. We all have our strengths. Okay, so, I want to continue with, how can you bulk up for two weeks’ worth of food? And why you should do this instead of going full on prepper. So, first of all, this is pretty inexpensive, comparatively, to do. Now, we do have some hardcore prepping food at our mountain house, because we could be stuck up there for a month. We could be stuck up there for longer than a month. So, we do have some hardcore prepping food, but, for the most part, we have stocked up on things when they’re already on sale. So, we love canned peaches. We love fresh peaches more, but we love canned peaches. So, when those go on sale, we can stock up on those. It’s just buying a little extra over time. So, I don’t want you to go to the store and empty the shelves. I want you to see what you already have. See what you need to complete it, and add a little more at a time. If you’re ordering off Amazon, here’s the beautiful thing, you can order those shelf stable things. You might not be able to get your lettuce and your green onions and things like that, but you can get your shelf stable stuff. So, you will be able to do this. Your store has a lot of shelf stable stuff, too. Second of all, you can buy this in bulk. I know your husband is a Costco guy.
Tonya – He loves himself a Costco trip.
Kathi – I get this. What I love about that is you can buy things in bulk. Check the prices, ‘cause Costco is not always the cheapest, but on shelf stable stuff, if you take half for now and you say, “Half of it we’re putting into our two week pantry.” You’ll use it up, you’ll go through it, but here’s the beautiful thing. You’re not buying weird food.
Tonya – Exactly. That’s something that you address in the book, that I think is very important. We’re talking about a working pantry. We’re not talking about buying two weeks of food and put it on the shelf for five years. It’s two weeks of food that you’re just always going to make sure you have that much on top of your regular use and you’re cycling through it.
Kathi – Yes, exactly. That’s point number three. Your family will actually eat this stuff. No no no! I bridged the topic. You brought us home, friend. If you’re stocking up on freeze dried scrambled eggs and your four year old is like, “You’re kidding me, right?” It’s not happening.
Tonya – That’s exactly what Abby would say.
Kathi – Exactly. So, you’re stocking up on things that your family already eats. You’ll want to have some family favorites and even a few comfort foods in the midst of emergency, especially if you’re going to be at home for an extended amount of time. My warning on that? Hide the snacks. It’s been so bad. We’re having to make other plans because you can’t go through all your snacks in the first week. That’s not okay.
Tonya – You can’t, and yet, why does that happen?
Kathi – I think we were all stressed out at the beginning. There will be other stress points, and we just need to figure out what our new normal is. Here’s the fourth thing. I think people are ready to go out and buy a bunch of prepackaged meals. You can do that, and especially for your Three Day Bugout Bag, you want to have some ready-to-eat things, but ingredients give you options. With ready-made meals, you’re eating what you’re eating, but if you have a lot of ingredients that you have bought in bulk that are shelf-stable? You’re going to be so set for long term power outage or job loss. You’ll be grateful that you have different combinations. This is why it’s so important to have a good spice selection, if you can. Start to build up your spice selection. You can have the same basic foods, but mix them up in different ways so that you’ll have things like Italian Night or Chinese Night or Mexican Night. Whatever it is, try new and fun things. You can have rice a million different ways, just by adding different spices to it. Here is, I feel, the most important point. Real food keeps things normal when the rest of life is hard. How have your kids responded to this being at home? I know Abby wants to go out and choose her own food.
Tonya – Yes. That’s really important to her. Initially, there’s just that habit of running out and just getting The Thing that has been hard to break. It was hard to not going out for dinner for Brian’s birthday which was last week. So, we ate leftovers. At the same time, they’re enjoying it. We’ve had pancakes a couple of times. Pancakes are typically a weekend food; a Sunday morning food, but everybody’s at home so we’ve had pancakes on a Wednesday. That’s great. Yesterday we had avocado toast and salad for lunch. I had this one head of lettuce and was like, “We better use it.” Lily was happy, I was happy. Brian had some tuna on the side. We’re having meals together more, which is really nice. I did do a whole week of comfort food. I made beef stew and jambalaya and I made fried rice. This week it was more, “Okay, we can’t keep eating like that.” Right? So, today is going to be fish and vegetables. I am fortunate. Our freezer is mostly meat and frozen vegetables. That’s just what we keep out there. So, we’ve got that to pull from. Really, I’m learning how to look ahead now. Groceries in my town, if I order today, I’m going to get those groceries six days from now. So, I’m not much thinking about what to eat now, I’m thinking about what to eat in six days. You know what? I can still make brownies. I can still make cookies. That’s what I’ve found is really important to the kids. If they can have a little treat. I made muffins the other day. Typical, everyday thing, but to them it feels a little special.
Kathi – Yeah, it’s just something to keep normal in the midst of all of this. Even a treat. So, to be able to say, “Okay, maybe the rest of the world feels like it’s out of control, but we have some control over what we can do.” Tonya, I want you to talk to them about the preorder bonuses for this book. It goes perfectly with what we’ve been talking about today, so could you tell everybody what those are about?
Tonya – Yes! I’m excited about them because they’re almost done, right? The publisher, knowing how important this topic is, has pushed the publication date up significantly. What I’m really excited about is the Two Week Crisis Cooking Plan. Anybody who preorders the book, whether they preorder the digital version or the print version, is going to get kind of a mini-cookbook that they download. It’s going to talk about everything that we’ve talked about in this episode, but it’s also going to give them recipes and a two-week meal plan to work from. It’s not going to be perfect. It’s not going to be for everyone.
Kathi – Hey, Tonya. This is what Kathi and Roger do, so I’m just downloading my family’s recipes and God bless you.
Tonya – And I threw in some of mine, right? I’m like, “Ooh! We really liked this last week. I’m going to put this in there.” That’s the beauty of downloads. You can just add to them. So, we’ve got that. We’ve got some inventory worksheets. What I realized, for me, I’m keeping things on a notepad and wouldn’t it be nice to have a nice worksheet to fill out with a freezer inventory, a fridge inventory, a pantry inventory that I can put in a page protector and tape to my freezer or put in my household binder. So we’ve got those coming. We also have shopping lists. Ideas. They’re in the book, too. The other thing I’m really excited about is, we’re working on this 5-day homeschool curriculum for emergency preparedness, ‘cause we thought, “Wouldn’t that be so useful for homeschooling families?” Newsflash: Everybody’s homeschooling. Now it’s, “Here’s your five-day family curriculum. Your whole family can do this.” We’ve got thirty minutes planned for you, every single day for five whole days. Just write your thank yous to KathiLipp.com. We take them all. Finally, we are giving away our eCourse Kickstart to Clutter Free. It’s something we sell for $49, but right now, everybody is looking for ways to occupy your time. We just want to make it easy. Everything is going to be there. Preorder the book and you get all of this immediately.
Kathi – Here’s the thing. We really just wanted to give this book away for free. We felt like everybody needed it. What we did was come up with enough stuff so it feels like you’re getting it for free. Exactly. Tonya, thanks so much for being on here. We’re going to talk about money next time, which I know is a really hard subject right now. I’m hoping we can offer a little hope, a few how-tos, some healing. You’ll learn from my mistakes, so that’s always fun.
Tonya – Awesome!
Kathi – You guys have been listening to Clutter Free Academy. I’m Kathi Lipp. Now, go create the clutter free life you were always intended to live.
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