The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

A bonus Pantry and Preparedness post with Teri.

A few weeks ago I shared beautiful photos of Teri's pantry and some of her thoughts on preparedness. Her pantry is AMAZING. It is a testimony to hard work and persistence!  Teri has been kind enough to share some tips and I thought these would be a great extra post for the Pantries and Preparedness series.

Please excuse the patchwork of texts and sizes and number issues! I am putting together things Teri has send me and bits and pieces and I am terrible at it! But hopefully Teri's information will not be wrecked by the bad job I have done! 

Firstly an introduction from Teri...

"I have been married for over 40 years and we have always had a pantry full of home canned food.  We freeze, can or dehydrate extras each summer to add to our pantry.  I watched my mom work hard to preserve the summer harvest either canning, freezing or drying extra food.  And I now use a pressure canner to give us more variety. 

We started to add to our pantry by canning jams, fruits and pickled veggies.  We also shopped case lot sales and watched for specials each week so we could have a variety.  From there, I started researching ways to store powdered milk, dry beans and wheat.  As our family grew, I wanted to learn ways to make my own mixes and other "convenience" foods at home.  We rotated and used our food from "our store" on a daily basis, and still do.  Cooking from scratch was normal, much healthier and saved lots of money.  I learned how to substitute ingredients or leave something out altogether.  As a stay-at-home mom, I knew this was important economically, plus I enjoyed it!!

Living in different areas, we felt prompted to prepare our family for weather issues and just simply not having to always run to a shop for one item.  Because of power outages, snow/ice storms and flooding, we are grateful to have a well stocked pantry. Plus, for several years our pantry has been the only way I've put meals on our table and just replacing essentials. I'm always learning and I hope, in some small way, I can help others by showing the ways I use and rotate my food storage.  I've learned so much from Annabel and her readers!!  It's just wonderful having a supportive group of like minded friends to motivate and encourage each other!" 

Teri, early on, also told me this which at the risk of repeating some information I want to include as it contains so great truths...

"I've been a stay at home mom 35 years and can assure you that I was always the "odd one out".  No one understood how much I was saving staying at home, raising our children, cooking from scratch, doing our own yard and housework and growing a garden.  We even had neighbor kids ask us what we were growing.  They had never seen potatoes, peas beans, etc. growing just saw them in a food store.  Now that our children are grown and its just the two of us, we still cook "big", planning leftovers and extras for easy "no cook" meals.  When I bake goodies, I often share with family and co-workers but everything tastes so much better, just like you have said.  :)"

"The kind of food storage and preparedness you and I are doing is to help our families and friends.  I also believe in God's word and following it the best I can. The scriptures tell us to be prepared and that's why we are prompted to work on our pantries.  I don't like to waste and feel sad if I do, that's why I'm always trying new things.  Also, if we have a big snow, ice, wind storm (which I've lived through many) then I don't want to be sliding on the roads with all the other crazy people or going to a shop that's had the shelves cleared.  It just makes more sense to me to stay home and have what we need.  It may not always be what everyone "wants" but that's ok because we will have full tummies!  :)  So this is why we are working so hard to fill our pantries!  Hope that all makes sense.  :)"

Teri's first tips to help us on our pantry missions...

"Firstly these are some tips to make the most of your freezer (an important part of the pantry in normal times)...

  1. As you prepare food for your freezer, be sure to use a sharpie to label and date each item.  (I also label each can, box, bag, etc. we buy to make rotating our food storage much easier).  Making a list to help you remember what you put in your freezer helps but keep updating it!
  2. Plastic freezer containers (which come in several sizes) are a good way to store food.  You can also recycle plastic food containers or use zip top freezer bags.  I’ve used all three and I like the square containers the best (they stack easier).  If you use freezer bags, lay those flat until they are frozen, then stack them in an up-right position to better use freezer space.  (If you lay them flat, they tend to slide around, so sometimes you have to layer them “jigsaw puzzle” styleJ)! 
  3. And if you have a vacuum seal machine, food stays fresher longer in your freezer plus you can also use this method for dried goods too.
  4. Tomatoes can be frozen.  I peel and core them, then put them in a freezer container raw and use them in sauces, soups, etc.  Sometimes, I cook them first to use the same way or cook, season and then stir into cooked pasta!  YUM!
  5. Bananas can be mashed and frozen to make bread, cookies or cake.  (They turn dark even if you add a tablespoon of lemon juice but this does not hurt them.)  I’ve done this with extra bananas for several years now and they are a handy item to have in the freezer!
  6. Winter squash can be cooked, mashed and frozen to use in baked goods.(try Streusel Squash Dessert in this newsletter)!  I also use my squash as a quick veggie for dinner.  Summer squash (zucchini, yellow, etc.) can be grated and frozen also.  Use in breads, cakes or soups (Faith makes a cream style soup with her cubed, frozen zucchini).  Also, frozen winter squash works fine in baked breads, pies and cookies in place of pumpkin.  ( I still like to cook pumpkin and freeze it too)! 
  7. Pre-measure grated squash, buttermilk, grated cheese, mashed bananas, etc. and put the amount on your label.  That way, they will be ready for specific recipes.  And when I freeze eggs (whites and whole), I put the amount on the label so I can easily unthaw the right amount. Be sure to unthaw all your food in the refrigerator.  Planning helps you get items out of the freezer a day or two ahead but the microwave defrost button works very well!  
  8. Saving some space in your freezer for bread, hamburger & hotdog buns, muffins and baked quick breads will save you trips to the grocery store and have goodies ready to eat.  Be sure you use your frozen bread & buns within a couple months.  Otherwise, they make good croutons or homemade bread crumbs! Frozen quick breads last longer.  (It’s nice to get a package of English muffins out of the freezer and make individual “pizzas” for a quick weekend lunch).
  9. A freezer is a great way to put extra garden veggies away for winter meals.  We have blanched cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, cabbage, corn, carrots and cooked beets (almost done) and plan to enjoy them all winter long.  Plus, we bottle and dehydrate all these vegetables.  Frozen green peppers, sautéed onions and celery are also nice to have in your freezer.  (Remember, most frozen vegetables don’t require much cooking, work great in soups, stews and sauces and are convenient).   Keep in mind, when you grocery shop and look in the frozen isle, that the food you “put by” will be tastier, fresher and won’t be filled with preservatives!

Remember to use your freezer to stock up on extra meals so when you have a hectic day, you can still enjoy a home cooked meal.  (Double recipes so you have one for dinner and one for the freezer).  A slow cooker also helps get a meal on the table fast, when you have had a busy day!  These ideas can also help you plan your party meals, giving you more time to enjoy your guests!"

Recently we started talking about eggs, how long to keep them etc., so these next few tips are about – yes, eggs!!! 

"1.   If you want to know if an egg is fresh, fill a bowl with cold water, gently put the egg(s) in ---- if the egg turns horizontal, it is very fresh; if it “bobs” on its tip, it’s older BUT still good; and if the egg floats to the top, toss it!  (This experiment only works with RAW eggs)!
2.   Most of the time eggs can be used past the expiration on the carton, if they have always been properly stored.
3.   Eggs should always be kept in the cartons instead of being put in an “egg holder” on the refrigerator door.  This will keep them fresher longer and unexposed to air plus any item stored on the refrigerator door gets more warm air than on a shelf.  (This is why new refrigerators don’t have an “egg holder” on the door). 

4.   As mentioned above, eggs can be frozen.  But there is a certain way to do this.  Whole eggs need to be “scrambled” a bit and have a small amount of salt added to them before freezing.  When I use an egg yolk in a recipe and don’t need the white, I freeze the white(s) in a small container, label the amount and freeze until I want to make meringues.  Always date your container and include the number of eggs on your container and thaw them in the refrigerator.
5.  Use frozen whole eggs for scrambled eggs, omelets, making pancake batter or baking a cake.  (Whole yolks are not recommended for the freezer,  as they turn rubbery)."

Something I have noticed about Teri's writing, also Glenda's and others is that in the US many of the ladies see pantries, preparedness and the learning and teaching in regard to this as a form of Ministry. I certainly have always thought that how we run our homes is a ministry and that the older women teaching the younger women is too. So it makes sense! It is a building up your home exercise. We need skills to do that. The more we learn the more capable we are. Then Teri wrote this to me....

     " I found a little note (in my scriptures) that I wrote years ago.  We were asked in a Sunday school class to write what we thought our gift(s) from God was.  And I wrote "helping and teaching people about food storage"!  I feel like you are helping me spread the word about preparedness/food storage and in such a loving way with your wonderful posts!  :)  So, thank you.  I have missed teaching classes on food storage and helping others set goals."  

Teri I really think you are correct, this is your gift and it is a great help to people!  And now you are doing that again.

Apart from teaching this is also inspiring and encouraging.  None of this is done in a day, it is all from things that are added to over time. In my small way I have shown that starting is the biggest step, it is amazing how your pantry will grow when you keep at it, take every chance to add something and add to your skills. 

I know many of you already follow A Prudent Homemaker. I don't think I ever knew someone so level headed and sensible (and prudent) as Brandy. Please go and read her current post "July's shopping plans" and then read the comments on the first page. Read every word and read carefully. Brandy is the latest in a series of people I really respect to come out and say such things. 

Teri this would make your teaching gift more important than ever! Thank you so much for this post and all your encouragement! 




  1. Thank you, Annabel! I'm looking forward to writing more posts and you are the one making this all possible!!! :)

    I look forward to this and each post you write! Love, Teri

    1. Dear Teri, I think this was all for a reason and meant to be.
      Thank you so much. With love Annabel.xxxx

    2. Annabel, after reading this post late last night, I went and looked at Brandy's post! I've never seen such urgency in her words! I'm so thankful we all building our pantries!

      Today was a trip to the big city for us! I stopped at Sams and Costco to replace several items low in my pantry! Thank you, again, for giving me a "room" full of wonderful women to "chat" with!! :) Love, Teri

  2. Wonderful post Teri, it helps to see how others start and maintain their pantries.

    1. Thank you Maggie for letting Teri know you loved it! xxx

    2. Maggie, thank you! Teri

  3. Great post! Such good information and it is so encouraging reading how others stock and keep their pantries stocked!

    1. It is so nice seeing tips and tricks from others. Pantry pictures really help me. The sight of a good pantry is truly motivating! Thanks Patsy! xxx

    2. Patsi, thank you! I learn a lot from you also! :) Teri

  4. Dear Teri, thank you so much for blessing us with your knowledge and ideas for ways to build up our pantries. Even if I'm in the category of the "older woman" now, there has been so much I have learned in these past few months. We probably do not value the importance of it as much here in Australia as our sisters in America, but it is more important to us now than ever. Being prepared is vital in so many ways. thanks to you and you also Annabel for starting this series in the first place. xoxo

    1. Kaye I am on a steep learning curve. We are older lol but there are still ladies we are learning from. And we need to be teaching too. Lets say we are in the middle :)
      Also I agree many of the US ladies are way more experienced in this than any Aust ladies I have ever known. This is a big help to me. Teri is a great teacher, I also have Glenda helping me alot. Then blogs like Patsy's, Brandi's. Jes... and others.
      Thanks for letting Teri know you loved her post! Love

    2. Kaye B, I'm so thankful for this opportunity Annabel is giving me! I have felt very strongly about preparedness/pantries and now is especially important for all of us to work each week building our supplies! :) Thank you for commenting! Teri

  5. I typed up a comment last night, but it may not have gone through. If this is a duplicate please delete it.

    I found your blog a couple of weeks ago from a post on Prudent Homemaker's Frugal Accomplishments and I've been going through the old posts - lots of good information to think about.

    Yesterday morning my significant other and I talked about how lax we have become with our hurricane preparedness. We need to correct that ASAP. Normally during hurricane season we make sure we are stocked with water, keep some cash in the house set aside for an emergency, and never let the gas tank go below half a tank. As I said though, we haven't been as vigil this season. We will rectify that ASAP. I always keep a stocked pantry year round but I haven't been keeping up with that either.

    As you advise, I will add something to the pantry every week. So much good info on your blog and your pictures are just lovely!

    And thank you Teri for sharing your knowledge with us!

    1. Dear Debbie, Thank you so much for your comment. The first one must have hit a bird.
      I just love Brandy's blog and have followed for years. She has inspired and helped me loads.
      It is really easy to get busy with other things and forget preparedness. Seeing you live in Florida even I know (in Australia) that you get big storms there. So you would know what are your highest risks... prepare for those of course. It has worked for me to add weekly, add any time I get an opportunity and have little goals.
      Thank you for your kind works! Teri has more posts coming up too.
      Thanks so much, Love

    2. Debbie, I read your comments on the Prudent Homemaker each week and really enjoy what you say! I'm glad you are working on your preparedness. Over the years, I have needed a nudge or too myself! :) Teri

  6. Hi Annabel, what a great post from Teri, lovely to read. Her pantry is just great. I've also just been reading at your suggestion The Prudent Homemaker. That is a great blog too. Does Teri have one? I'm confused at who does and doesn't.
    Thank you for bringing these lovely ladies into this group. Fi xx

    1. Dear Fiona,
      I have told Teri she could have a blog! For now she feels too busy but I am hoping she might one day and meantime share with us all here.
      I have followed The Prudent Homemaker for years. I love her blog. Plus she is sensible and smart. To hear her say this, especially what was in comments, well, this is very interesting. I really do respect her opinion.
      I am glad you enjoyed Teri's post and thank you for letter her know!
      Lots of love,

    2. Thank you, Fiona! I'm thankful Annabel is giving me this opportunity to teach, plus I'm also learning! :) Teri

  7. Teri's pantry is just so inspiring, Annabel. I just read Brandy's blog and the comments. Hmmm, that doesn't sound too good does it? Sunday Night on Channel 7 is going to be about food security in Australia by the sounds of it. I must remember to watch it.

    1. I must watch that Nanna Chel. After reading Brandy's blog for many years she has never said anything like this before. She is someone I really respect. So it is interesting as there are others saying the same. That is how they are feeling.
      Have a lovely weekend! It has been a busy week. These ladies encourage me to keep on the job of my pantry and Im learning a lot! xxx

    2. Nanna Chel, Brandy's post is very timely! Much to think about for all of us. I'm so glad Annabel is giving me this chance! Please let us know what you hear on the Sunday program! :) Teri

  8. Great post! We do need to fill on some areas in our pantry.

    I know I have said this before here but learn to use essential oils and get some basic ones to keep your family healthy in a time of crisis. If you are in the US I recommend They have the best oils for the best prices. Anyone can access their educational information though and Linda has a lot of information so just read, read, read.

    1. Thank you Lana. Essential oils are something I need to learn more about from the medical point of view. I have used them for headaches and relaxation only. So I will start on that.
      My problems I worry about in emergencies are ear infections and migraine. So I will start with them. Further in the family blood pressure is another issue...
      Thanks for encouraging us on this. xxx

    2. Thank you, Lana! I am still learning about essential oils! Teri

    3. Many have success with treating ear infections by putting a drop of lavender E oil on a cotton ball and placing that in the ear overnight. The lavender kills the infection without actually putting the oil in the ear which should never be done. Lavender can be used on the kidneys for blood pressure issues. One drop on each kidney at bedtime. High blood pressure can be caused by an infection in the kidneys so I caution you that the blood pressure could correct after a few days and meds could make it go too low. this happened with a friend of mine. She no longer needs the meds after using the oil. Our first defense for a migraine is to drink 32 ounces of water. If that does not work then we use bourbon medicinally. It works! 2-3 tablespoons does the trick. I hope this helps!

    4. Dear Lana, Thank you! I will try this with the Lavender, I need to find out what the E means but the health food store will know and they have several brands of essential oils. It is only the last two years since an illness that I get this problem.
      I am sorry to do this to you but I know to hydrate with a migraine but its good to be reminded. Now the bourbon I have to ask... is it something about bourbon specifically that works? Or could it be brandy or some other thing? I am very curious about this! Also I had never thought of it.
      I could make a joke and say does it get rid of the migraine or do you just not care that you have one? lol But seriously I believe in this as my parents and Grandparents used alcohol medicinally, I had hust not thought of for a migraine.
      Thank you for this. I have been desperate re my ear. One time I could not get to the doctor fast enough and it burst and then a few days later it burst again. It was not good. Since it flares up every now and then. Thanks for your time in telling me this, love

    5. We have used coconut oil for years to treat ear and even eye infections. Lay down with the infected ear facing up. Pack the ear with oil. Lay a warm cloth on top. Rest for 20 to 30 min. Let drain. Works every time,

  9. Thank you Teri and Annabel! I came over to this blog a few months ago from Brandy's blog and am enjoying and learning from it! I am working on adding to my pantry and continuing to read and pray. As one of the older women, my concern is more for the children and younger ones. Someone mentioned praying as we plan and shop, and I do that, too. Thank you for these encouraging posts!

    1. Dear Mrs. Gilliam,
      Thank you very much. I love Brandy's blog as you know.
      I agree that we need to read and pray. Be watchful! Also my concern is for the children and grandchildren. But we can do a lot to help them. That encourages me a lot.
      Im so glad to have you here, thank you so much for commenting. Love

  10. Good tips, Teri. Thank you for sharing with all of us. Your ministry of helping others in preparing is such a blessing.

    I like to freeze whole cherry tomatoes and sliced strawberries. I just put the (whole) washed and dried cherry tomatoes into a quart canning jar (no liquid) and stick them in the freezer. They are great to use in Swiss Steak or any Soup/Stew. For the strawberries, I just wash and dry them; slice them into a pint or quart canning jar; and layer them with organic sugar (again no liquid added). When they thaw they taste just like fresh.

    I, too, admire Brandy very much. In the years of reading her I have never seen her post a warning as in this last post. I think many of us feel that time is short to prepare. One only has to read the international news and the international financial news daily to see how fragile is the worldwide economy.

    There is a wonderful website that shows the debt of various nations compared to their GDP; not good for many countries.

    The posts and everyone's comments, which add such good information, are very helpful. Thank you.

    1. Dear Glenda,
      Thank you for letting Teri know what a good job she is doing!
      Your tip about freezing cherry tomatoes whole is fantastic! In jars too they would not squash. They are something I am good at growing too. How handy just to drop them into the pan to cook! In summer I will be planting plenty to do this.
      It is funny we both have been reading Brandy's blog long before we "met' each other and long enough to respect her opinions and listen.
      Many countries are not far behind Greece. None of this money will ever be repaid someone has to lose. It seems obvious.
      Thank you for always contributing helpful information and tips!
      With love, Annabel.xxxx

    2. Glenda, Thank you! I learned something about cherry tomatoes from you! I'm hoping mine grow this year!
      It's so interesting how many of us have been following Brandy's blog for years and we have Annabel bringing us together! :) Teri

  11. Dear Teri:
    Thank you so very much for taking the time to put this information into Annabel's hands to share with us. I personally value it more than I can express! I lived in the midwest (Illinois) until I was 14 years old. It was very common for preparedness (tornadoes and snow), gardens, putting up food in the summer, etc. My parents moved us to Arizona and all of that went out the window. A decent pantry was still kept in my parent's home, but not like when I was younger at all. All of you ladies that I've "met" online have become my teachers and mentors, I am not kidding! Thank you so much for pouring into us. It's really appreciated. :)

    Dear Annabel, Thank YOU for providing this place. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that the information that has been shared here over the last several months has been life-changing. You are correct in pointing out that this in fact a gift, as well as a ministry. It's beautiful to learn from such wise women. Everyone of us brings something to the table to share. Thank you, thank you!

    Much Love,
    Colette xxx

    1. Dear Colette,
      Thank you for your encouragement to Teri!
      You know I have thought of you a lot. When you have a larger family and all that goes with it, preparing is a big job. It is a big job anyway! But I think keeping at it, being watchful for opportunities etc it all adds up!
      Have a lovely weekend and thank you so much! Love Annabel.xxxx

    2. Colette, Thank you! I'm grateful in some small way, I can help! This is because of Annabel!!! :) We have a great group of women whom I am learning so much from! Love, Teri

  12. Thankyou for the post Teri and Annabel. I love seeing photos of other people's pantries. It makes me giddy with excitement to know I'm not the only one with a stockpile.

    1. Thank you, Wendy, for your comment! It's great having a well stocked pantry! Teri


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