Friday, December 1, 2017

December Food Storage and Prep Handout

This is the December handout I made for my LDS ward Relief Society. I hope it helps some of you with your Provident Living Specialist callings, or just personally. I’m so grateful for the ability I’ve been given to organize my thoughts, and the inspiration that has come this year for me so I can put it down on paper. Here is the December Food Storage & Prep handout. You are welcome to print it for personal or church use.

December 2017 Food Storage and Prep Handout

With the busyness of the season, I add inexpensive food storage items to my grocery list this month. I call them baking basics. Items such as vanilla, cooking spray, brownie or cake mixes, frosting, cornstarch, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. You probably already have a 3-month supply of these items on your shelf like I do.

But I like to store a year’s supply just in case that emergency comes. If you’re not sure how much you want to gather for your family, start with a 3-month supply. Here are some tips:
  • VANILLA EXTRACT is super expensive right now, so you could get by with imitation vanilla until the price comes down again. I’m sure it will. I don’t like imitation vanilla, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to stay in your budget. I still have some of my powdered vanilla left. Sam’s Club sells a 32 oz. container of imitation vanilla for about $5.00. Most stores have some as well.
  • SALT has an indefinite shelf life, but will become ruined with moisture. A year’s supply is about 8 lbs. per person. Costco sells a 4 lb. box for about $1.46. Store it in a moisture proof container. Some people add rice to salt shakers to absorb moisture.
  • COOKING SPRAY is very inexpensive at Costco or Sam’s Club, but it always come on sale at grocery stores. It has at least a 1 year shelf-life if properly stored. Always check the date on the can.
  • BAKING POWDER is necessary for our baking needs. A year’s supply is about 4 lbs. per person. Yep! Sounds crazy. However, a 3.75 lb. container costs $5.00 at Costco. And the container is waterproof. You could keep a smaller amount of it in your kitchen and the larger container elsewhere. It generally has a 9-12 month shelf life, but I’ve used it longer. The best thing to do if you question the shelf life, is test it by adding a 1/2 teaspoon to a few tablespoons of warm water in a small bowl. If it fizzes, great. If not, toss it.
  • BAKING SODA is super important too. A year’s supply is about 1 lb. per person. Some say it has an indefinite shelf life, but it’s best to test it periodically if you keep an open box on your shelf instead of in an airtight container. It’s inexpensive at most stores. Test it by adding a 1/2 teaspoon to a few tablespoons of vinegar. You want a super fizzy reaction. If it doesn’t fizz much, use if for cleaning the house. Now, here’s something we don’t talk about. Adding baking soda to dry soaking beans reduces… gas. Yep, gas! And most of us don’t eat dry beans from our food storage much. So, keep baking soda on hand to help you adjust. 🙂
My emergency focus this month is power and light so I gather such items such as batteries, flashlights, lanterns, and emergency outlet lights. During the winter, we could experience a power outage, so having these items on hand is a blessing. Add a flashlight to your child’s stocking so they can keep it in the drawer by their bed. And you will probably buy batteries for toys or electronics anyway, right? Just pick up extra for emergencies too.
Keep the gathering simple this month so you’ll be more likely to do it. I know you CAN.
Best wishes!
Valerie Albrechtsen, The Food Storage Organizer

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November Food Storage and Prep Handout

Here is my November food storage and prep handout for my ward Relief Society. I hope this handout helps those of you who serve as ward Provident Living Specialists or in other LDS Church callings, or anyone who has a desire to become more self-reliant.

This month I focus on gathering holiday baking items that stores typically have on sale such as canned pumpkin, canned broth, brown sugar, powdered sugar and white sugar, yams, stuffing and white flour. You’re going to buy some of it anyway for Thanksgiving, right? So gather a few extra.
You can buy white sugar and white flour in #10 cans at the LDS Home Storage Centers. Sugar has an indefinite shelf life but the can will protect it from critters. Flour has a 10-year shelf life.
Now until November 30th:
  • Macaroni #10 can $2.50, reg. $2.75
  • Granola 2 lb. pouch $6.25, reg. $7.00
Now until December 31st:
  • Hot Cocoa 2 lb. pouch $3.50, reg. $4.00
  • Sugar #10 can $4.75, reg. $5.25

I also like to stock up on winter clothes and other items to keep warm if you live where winters get cold. Children’s coats are usually outgrown from last year. This is a great time to buy a new one since stores have lots of sales and stock is still high. Or buy an oversized coat that will last several years. Clothing resale shops like Kid-to-Kid or Once-Upon-a-Time put coats and boots out in their stores now too.
Valerie Albrechtsen, The Food Storage Organizer

Sunday, October 1, 2017

October Food Storage and Prep Handout

My food storage focus in October is oils and fats. If you are new at this, gather an amount that you might use in 3-months. For instance, if you would only use a 48 oz. bottle of canola oil and have a half-used bottle in your pantry, buy one new bottle.

This is the handout I prepared for my ward Relief Society sisters. You are welcome to print it. Earlier today as I was working on it, I decided to use a quote by Robert D. Hales. And then later found out he was in the hospital. Prayers for Elder Hales and President Monson.
Oil should be stored in a cool, dark area, and NOT in your garage where the heat will ruin it. Unopened vegetable oil has about a 1-year shelf life, though it may be stored longer if you store it in a very cool (not freezing) location. Once opened the shelf-life is 4 – 6 months, so it’s a good idea to write the date you open it on the bottle.
Olive oil has about a 6-month shelf life, but can be stored for a year in the refrigerator. Always smell oil first to see if it has gone rancid. It will smell “off” if it has. Sticks or canned shortening have a 2-year shelf life. Once opened, canned shortening has about a 1-year shelf life, but the sticks only have a 6-month shelf life.
Peanut butter is another item I stock up on this month, but it has about a 1-year shelf life, so purchase accordingly. I usually keep a 6-month supply on hand in small 16 to 18 oz. jars. We don’t eat a lot of peanut butter so large jars won’t work for us.
I also stock up on baking cocoa and chocolate chips this month. A large container of baking cocoa is very inexpensive at Costco or Sam’s Club and will last a long time. Chocolate chips are also less expensive at these stores, and sometimes in the fall there are discounts on it. I like to buy two 72-ounce bags and store the chocolate chips in my big freezer.
My October emergency preparedness focus is fire prevention. It’s time to test those smoke alarms, get your fire extinguisher tested, check your carbon monoxide alarm and have a mock fire drill. Costco typically has these items on sale this month. Only use a fire extinguisher on very small fires. Never try to put out large fires. Just get out.
A great resource for fire safety is this page at the Red Cross. Check it out. Best wishes on your preparedness goals. A little at a time will build your supplies.
Valerie Albrechtsen, The Food Storage Organizer

Friday, September 15, 2017

STEP 2: Emergency Drinking Water

STEP 2: Drinking Water
“Store drinking water for circumstances in which the water supply may be polluted or disrupted. If water comes directly from a good, pretreated source, then no additional purification is needed; otherwise, pretreat water before use. Store water in sturdy, leak-proof, breakage-resistant containers. Consider using plastic bottles commonly used for juices and soft drinks. Keep water containers away from heat sources and direct sunlight.”

FEMA recommends you prepare for emergencies that last up to two weeks or more. After watching the recent hurricanes in the south, we can see that we need to be prepared for long-term emergencies.  These are minimums! Infants, nursing mothers and seniors may require more. Also, consider the high temperatures in your area.
Individual commercially prepared water bottles are easy to transport, store, and rotate. I buy 24 ct. cases of 16.9 oz. bottles when they go on sale at my grocery store. They are easier for me to lift if ever I needed to transport them by car to a shelter. Or I could toss them into a wheeled suitcase and walk to an evacuation center. Don’t depend on an evacuation center to have a good supply of drinking water right away! Bring your own. Water is the first thing to disappear off store shelves in a disaster.
My teenagers use these bottles for school sports. I also put them in my car emergency kits, and 72-hour kits and periodically use then replace them. Simple to store, simple to rotate.
Commercially sealed bottled water can last almost indefinitely, so you do not have to rotate often. However, the longer you store, the more likely the water will have an aftertaste  “The taste of stored water can be improved by pouring it back and forth between two containers before use.”
The choice is yours. Water or no water. You can live without food for several days, but you cannot live without water.
The goal is 14 gallons of water per person or 1792 ounces.
Each person would need –
  • 106 @ 16.9 oz. bottles (commercially bottled)
  • 4.4 @ 24 ct. cases of 16.9 oz. bottles (commercially bottled)
  • 28 @ 64 oz. juice bottles (wash & dry, and fill with water)
  • 14 @ 1 gallon heavy duty bottles (commercially bottled)
  • 54 @ 2 liters soda bottles (wash & dry, and fill with water)

  • “Use only food-grade containers. Smaller containers made of PETE plastic or heavier plastic buckets or drums work well.
  • Clean, sanitize, and thoroughly rinse all containers prior to use. A sanitizing solution can be prepared by adding 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of liquid household chlorine bleach (5 to 6% sodium hypochlorite) to one quart (1 liter) of water. Only household bleach without thickeners, scents, or additives should be used.
  • Do not use plastic milk jugs, because they do not seal well and tend to become brittle over time.
  • Do not use containers previously used to store non-food products.”
There are other needs that require water. Store as much as you can.
Go to the LDS church website for further water storage guidelines.

Seychelle water purification bottles can be purchased from the LDS Church Distributio Center for about $16.00 “Water filters produced by Seychelle have been used successfully by LDS Church missionaries for many years.”
Useful websites:

Friday, September 1, 2017

September Food Storage and Prep Handout

September is the month I gather some meat and potatoes into my food storage, and work on earthquake preparedness. This would also be a good month to prepare for any disaster which is common to your area, such as a hurricane, fire, flood, tornado, etc.

Here is a handout I created for my ward Relief Society with my goals for September. You are welcome to print it for personal or church use.
What I’m Gathering in September:
  • Macey’s Case Lot Sale – Stew, canned potatoes, alcohol, hyrogen peroxide.
  • Costco – Kirkland canned chicken, (easy to use in baking dishes and sandwiches), Kirkland canned beef (had to call several stores), laundry detergent, hand sanitizer.
  • Walmart – Liquid hand soap refill, backpack for 72-hour kits (should be on clearance aisle), L-brackets (to brace bookcases), duct tape.
  • Amazon – bungee cords, collapsible pet food and water containers
Great websites with information on earthquake preparedness. Most states have their own. Here are some of my favorites:
The Red Cross

This is also a great month to work on your auto emergency kit. But I’ll talk about that in another post.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

2017 Food Storage Case Lot Sale Price List

Most of you know I’m a big fan of gathering food storage, so every few years I put together a worksheet to compare prices of the fall grocery case lot sales in Utah, to Wal-Mart, Costco, the LDS Home Storage Center and a few other stores. This list is smaller than some I’ve done in the past, but I only list things I may be interested in, so there are more items on sale in the stores. Here you go my friends.

Fall 2017 Utah Case Lot Sale Price Comparison

What I love about my list is I can see what really is a deal at the case lot sales, versus other stores. I never buy much at case lot sales since I gather year-round. I know exactly what canned or packaged foods I will buy at Costco and what I will not. I’m patient and focus on a few things each month to stock up on in my food storage.
Yesterday I visited Macey’s in Ogden; the dream store for case lot shopping. They had HUGE aisles of cases of food and non-foods.
Today I visited Smith’s in Farmington which has a smaller selection, but I bought one case of peanut butter. Mostly because I’m still figuring out what to buy.
I also shopped at the LDS Home Storage Center in Centerville, Utah, and bought 12 bottles of honey, and 2 #10 cans of dehydrated apple slices. The honey is a bit more expensive than some of the other stores, but it “is strained (not filtered) which leaves the pollen in and the temperature is elevated to facilitate packaging, but it is not raised high enough to pasteurize it.” I KNOW it was carefully prepared, and I trust the source.
Some of the prices at Reams (which you’ll find online) beat Maceys, so if you live near a Reams store, compare with my list for the best savings. I wait to shop at case lot sales and shop at Bowman’s in Kaysville, because they are close to me and I love supporting a local store.
One item that skyrocketed in price last year is pure liquid vanilla. At Costco it went from $6.99 a bottle, to $26.99! There was a shortage of vanilla beans from Madagascar. So a few months ago, I bought pure vanilla powder from Emergency Essentials.
Yep, powder. I think it’s all gone now. 😦 I have not noticed a difference in my baking flavor. I use it exactly as I would liquid vanilla. It does have sugar in the ingredients, but it works for me. I’m not a fan of imitation liquid vanilla after reading what it is made of. Ewww. But we gotta do, what we gotta do.
Whenever there is a natural disaster, people tend to scramble and gather more food storage than they need. So, I suggest taking a deep breath, glance at my list, and then look in your cupboards to see what you really need. 
It’s been a long week watching the outcome of Hurricane Harvey, but I’m so proud of my fellow Americans who are out there helping each other. They have taught me much about preparedness, and character. They are my true heroes.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

It’s Fall Case Lot Sale Time in Utah!

It’s Fall Case Lot Sale Time in Utah!

It’s case lot sale time again in Utah! I’ve been collecting all those sale dates from our wonderful grocery stores. So, gather your list, check it twice, and head on over to a case lot sale next week. It’s time for us to get focused on food storage.

Whether you live in or out of Utah, you can always gather food storage year-round. I never purchase everything at case lot sales. Just my favorites. Go here for my case lot sale tips.
Here are those sale dates:
  • Lee’s Marketplace – Monday, August 28th
  • Reams – Tuesday, August 29th
  • Smith’s – Wednesday, August 30th
  • Maceys – Wednesday, August 30th
  • Winegars – Wednesday, August 30th
  • Bowman’s Market – Wednesday, October 4th
  • Dick’s Fresh Market – Wednesday, October 4th
  • Fresh Market – Wednesday, October 4th
  • Harmons – not sure if they are participating
And this week, American Beauty pasta is on sale for $.49 a package. One of my favorite sales! Shelf life of pasta is about 3 years. Look for the Buy 8 SAVE $4 SALE this week at Dick’s Fresh Market, Fresh Market and Maceys.
CAUTION: Only store your food inside your home and not in your garage.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Prepared LDS Family changing to Food Storage Organizer

Dear Friends,

I am moving to a new website called You can find all of my Prepared LDS Family blog posts there. I've also updated my food storage and emergency prep lists and they are in The Food Storage Organizer: Monthly Prep Guide. It is available for purchase for $5.00 at my shop here.

I tweaked my old prep lists, and fixed the errors and duplication. It is a calendar that can be used over and over again, so you don't need a new one each year. Your download purchase allows you to make as many printed copies as you wish. You can share printed copies, but NOT the copyrighted digital file through emails or ward newsletters. So if you want to give printed copies to LDS wards, Relief Society sisters, family members or congregations, you have my permission.

You can also sign up for my blog posts by email at And you can connect with me on my Facebook page here or on Pinterest here or Instagram here.

My new site is a work in progress. :-) Thank you to my son, Josh, for helping me build the site, and my family for their constant support.

I'll leave Prepared LDS Family up for a few months, but then it will be retired.

Best wishes on a new year and your preparedness goals.

Valerie Albrechtsen