To say the times are troubling is a bit of an understatement. There is uncertainty everywhere, along with fear, despair and desperation.
There is a lot we can't control right now and while I get that can be scary that is also why I believe it is important to take charge of what we CAN control and focus on those things instead. When we bring some order to our own personal environment, it can lessen a lot of fears, anxiety and negative thought loops.
So, what are some things we can control in our lives? Our thoughts and attitude, our daily choices for what to wear, what to eat, what to watch, what we buy and have in our homes. We are the gatekeepers of our homes and ourselves. We can make our personal environments more soothing, relaxing, organized and welcoming. We can make our homes a safe haven where we can truly let go and feel calm and safe.
So, how do we do that? Well, for me it means making sure my home is well stocked, clean, organized and comfortable. I like to have plenty of books, board games, playing cards and arts & crafts on hand for my kids. For myself I prefer books to keep me occupied or I might look for some new recipes to try for a family meal. I clean out closets and keep things organized. I shop for second hand items I'm on the hunt for and take care of my Tower Gardens.
Lately, making sure my home is well stocked with plenty of healthy, nutritious food for my family of eight has been a priority so I thought I'd share how I'm doing that and what I'm getting without shopping in stores much. The items I purchase are gluten free, NON GMO and (mostly) natural.
Amazon Prime has been a life saver for helping me acquire some hard to find items or buy some in bulk like Peanut Butter! My kids love peanut butter and it's a quick source of protein. We like the Jif Natural Creamy and Crunchy. I've also found an Almond Butter we like too! Almond butter is more expensive but we use it on toast or a small spoonful in a smoothie -- a little goes a long way and it's a great source of healthy fats and protein!
Here are few more things I get from Amazon to stock my pantry and home:
Dehydrated Veggies These are great for soups, stews or casseroles! They will also keep for a long time on your pantry shelves!
Cheddar Cheese Powder This stuff is so versatile! I add it to boxed Macaroni & Cheese for some extra cheesy flavor, on top of popcorn, in casseroles or for cheese-y potato soup!
Cream soups! These are must for so many dishes! Casseroles, creamy rice or pasta dishes, soups and more! I get this cream of chicken and cream of mushroom.
Instant Mashed Potatoes I use these to thicken up mashed potatoes that a bit too thin, to thicken up soups or make potato cakes -- lots of uses for them and great to have on hand for quick use!
Tuna, Salmon and Chicken in cans. Not only are they shelf stable and quick sources of protein but they are ready to go for adding on top of salads, casseroles, a quick snack or for a sandwich if you add some mayo and other spices. These brands are sustainable and the tuna is tested for mercury.
Whole Milk Powder Shelf stable and versatile. This can be used for creamer or as a substitute for milk in recipes. You can even make sweetened condensed milk with it (though I do confess I've never tried it -- yet!). Evaporated milk and whipped topping can be made with powdered milk plus yogurt, oatmeal packets, hot chocolate, curds, ricotta, cottage cheese AND use it for a milk bath or face mask & soothing skin treatment! Whew! I had no idea you could make all of that with powdered milk!
Oils -- for cooking, salads and smoothies or "bullet proof" coffee... Here are my faves from Amazon: MCT/Fractionated Coconut Oil Avocado Oil Unrefined Coconut Oil (will have more of a coconut taste to it) Naturally Refined Coconut Oil (more neutral flavor), Olive Oil 128 oz or 32 oz, and Palm Shortening. Some I use for cooking like Avocado oil, palm shortening and coconut oil (refined or unrefined). Others are for sauteéing (Olive oil) and the palm shortening is great for baking and making frosting/icing for cakes. The MCT Coconut oil is useful for cooking as well, but I primarily use it for bullet proof coffee, in smoothies and with my essential oils (which you can learn more about here.)
Salt -- VERY important to have on hand not just for seasoning food but for making electrolyte drinks at home. Our body needs salt. My favorite are Pink Himalayan Salt, Celtic Sea Salt and Redmond Real Salt. All are natural, unbleached and provide trace minerals. The sea salt is great for making rubs for meat to grill or smoke! The other two work wonderfully for all other cooking and baking plus table salt. (Read to the end of the post for a home made Electrolyte drink -- I keep these ingredients on hand for the summer but this recipe can be used year around to ward off dehydration.)
Thrive Market is another source I use for shelf stable foods, dried goods, nuts and more. Use my link to save some $$$ on your first order. I get gluten free pasta, sauces, condiments, baking supplies and a lot more from them! Their store brand, Thrive Market, is very good and high quality too!
Boxed.com is another site I use that has name brand, organic and some gluten free items. I can find some things my family likes and eats in bulk which saves me some dollars at checkout. Shipping is usually around five bucks and comes pretty quickly. Sorry, no referral code for this one -- the prices are great though and I love the convenience!
Butcher Box is where I get the majority of my meat. They have a wide variety of humanely raised and grass fed meats. It comes to my door, still frozen, and individually wrapped. I can choose what I want to get each month as well. There are two sizes of boxes to choose from as well. The Classic Box is 9-14 lbs of meat and the Big Box is 18-26 lbs of meat. My family of eight gets two of the big boxes a month and it is more than enough for us but I like to have some extra on hand.
I also use Misfits Market and Imperfect Foods as well. Both of these services offer produce that might other wise be thrown away but is perfectly safe to eat which saves you and me money! We get some good quality supplies and food doesn't go to waste. There are options to customize your orders and choose when and how often you receive them too. Use my referral links to save you some dollars on your first order! The Misfits Market link will save you 25% on your first order and the Imperfect Foods link will give you $10 to apply towards your first order.
Imperfect foods has both conventional and organic produce plus some meats, cheeses and shelf stable foods.
You can also look for a CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, in your area. This is usually locally grown produce and meats that you can pick up in your area or sometimes have delivered. Here's where to find one close to you: CSA And here is some helpful info on CSA's so you can choose what's right for you.
I also place a monthly order with Azure Standard. This is a site where you can order a lot of bulk items and there is usually a local "drop site" where you go to pick up the order that is delivered by a semi truck and trailer (refrigerated and frozen foods too!). You can find our more information about them here. I get dried beans, rice, canned goods, cheeses, condiments and many other items from them monthly. It saves me a lot of time and trips to the store when feeding my family of eight, but is also something a smaller family can take advantage of as well. I love the mission, message and focus of this business! I appreciate that I can get healthy items for my family and support a family business as well. To find out where they deliver and if there is a drop site near you, go here.