From Terry

TERRY:

I’ve been thinking of stocking up on foods from Shelf Reliance or another food storage company.  I need to take time to go through the site and see what is available.  I am interested in about two weeks supply of packaged foods for a family of 8.  Any suggestions?

SURVIVAL MOM:

For 8 people, you’ll need to plan for 14 breakfasts, 14 lunches, 14 dinners, and then snacks.  I don’t know the ages of your family members, but plan on about 2500 daily calories or so for each adult.  Difficult times will probably require more physical labor than we’re used to, so it would be better to err on the side of extra calories (energy) and nutrition. It would actually be helpful to make up a 2 week menu of very simple meals and figure how much you’ll need for 8 people at each meal.
Breakfasts:  hot cereals are easily stored, prepared, and customized.  I highly recommend them as a breakfast choice.  Add dried fruits, brown sugar, honey (you can buy this in bulk from Sprouts — be sure to find out where it’s from.  China is a big no-thanks!).  Also, if someone is a baker, a loaf or two of bread baked each day will add sandwiches, toast, and French toast as breakfast options.
I haven’t tried food storage products from every company and can only speak to the quality of Thrive products.  The powdered eggs mix up with water to make a decent batch of scrambled eggs.  The pancake mix is good and you can buy large containers of syrup from Costco.  Finally, be sure to add some lowfat powdered milk.  It’s a lot better than what my mom used to make for us years ago!
Oh, you can buy buckets of wheat now from Thrive.  Each bucket will make about 40 or so loaves of bread, and of course the ground flour can be used for tortillas, crackers, etc.  I’d recommend that you buy two buckets of hard white wheat and then the ingredients you would use to make a loaf of bread.
Lunches:  You can’t beat soup and sandwiches for an easy meal.  Look for recipes that are easy to make and contain only ingredients that can be stored long-term.  You can add a cup of pasta or rice to stretch the meal and add more bulk.  Also, Thrive sells instant refried beans for super-easy burritos and as a side dish.  I recommend the various  instant beans because they won’t require a lengthy cooking time, no soaking, and will actually conserve water.
One item I recommend are the canned entrees for maybe 2 or 3 meals.  These come in handy for times when you can’t do anything more than heat up some water.  The Baked Potato Cheese Soup or the Chicken Noodle Soup would be good for that.  Maybe having a can or two on hand as a back-up to your planned menu meals might be a good idea.  They can be “doctored up” with additional veggies or meat.
Dinners:  Here is my suggestion.  Plan on 2 soup meals, 1 or 2 casserole meals, 1 or 2 skillet meals, and a meal of chili, and you should have a collection of really easy recipes that are all storage friendly.  You can’t go wrong by getting a can or two of typical soup veggies, such as onions, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms.  Add some chicken bouillon and a can or two of macaroni pasta, and you should be able to make at least two veggie soup meals with a loaf of bread or rolls at each meal.  If you need more help with this, let me know and we can talk on the phone.  If your wife will be part of the planning, I’d be happy to talk with her as well.
You could easily plan for a pizza meal, now that I think of it.  Just have the ingredients for the crust, buy a can of tomato powder, seasonings, and the freeze-dried cheese is excellent.
I suppose if you want to go super easy, you could always focus on the canned entrees, e.g. Sweet Pepper Steak, Dijon Chicken, etc.  Those would all be no-brainers and you could add some rehydrated veggies as a side dish and some bread. There is very little preparation involved with these versus planning meals, buying ingredients, and then cooking from scratch.  However, the latter option will give you lots more versatility, and of course there’s always the chance that at least someone doesn’t like the Dijon Chicken or whatever.
For snacks, I highly recommend the Yogurt Bites from Thrive.  My kids love them and just yesterday I used the vanilla bites in a smoothie along with some of the freeze-dried mandarin oranges.  The dried fruits are a very good snack option because they’ll provide nutrients, fiber, and extra calories.
For basics, such as sugar, salt, yeast, etc., just go to Costco and buy them in bulk.  The one advantage to buying those with Thrive, however, is that they’re packaged for long-term storage.  As long as your bags of sugar stay in a dry place, they’ll be okay, but there’s something to be said for having it already stored in sealed, #10 cans.  Ditto for the rice and beans.  Also at Costco, stock up on your favorite seasonings and condiments.
Hope this  helps!