Be Prepared for Hurricane Season! (Plus Easy Recipes for All Year Round!)
This is a reprint of an article my friend Debbie Klinect wrote back in May 2005, and sent to me the other day with the comment: “I felt with hurricane season upon us again, it would be a good reminder to us all.”
On a personal note, when Debbie talks about showing hospitality, she’s serious. During one of the 2004 hurricanes, our family of 11 (before Melody was born) actually spent the night with them because they had power and we didn’t. Thanks, Debbie, for your example and for this very helpful information! Most of all, thanks for your friendship for the past 15 years!
Debbie also gives several easy recipes, but you don’t have to wait for a hurricane to try them!
Do you know what season this is? If you said “summer,” you are right. But that isn’t the season I am referring to. It is officially hurricane season from June 1 through November 30 on the east coast of the United States. Yesterday it rained off and on all afternoon and evening. I decided to watch the evening news to see what the weather man was going to tell me about the rest of this week and it was more of the same. Apparently there is a disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico causing all of this and it will be here for a few days. He said that the hurricane center is not calling it a depression but they are watching it to see what is going to happen. This brought to my mind a conversation that my husband and I had a few years back and so I thought I would take this time and share our conversation with you and what has come out of that conversation. I have put together some thoughts and practical ideas for all of you who live on the east coast of the United States.
Like so many Floridians, a few years back I had a very cocky attitude about hurricanes. Living in the Orlando area, I just didn’t see the reason for all the fuss – we never get hit by hurricanes here. I have experienced a hurricane before in September, 1979 – Hurricane David. We were in Merritt Island when David hit the Cocoa Beach area. I was 5 months pregnant with our first child. Kurt decided that he had heard enough and we sat down for a serious talk. He wanted me to understand that it was a fact that we, in Central Florida, would probably never get hit by a hurricane. BUT, we had other serious issues of concern. Winds from the hurricane can be over 50 miles an hour as far inland as we are AND hurricanes are famous for spawning tornadoes. We live in an area with many old oak trees and with winds at that speed, that was a great concern. Also tornadoes cause so much damage, taking out homes, power lines, and busting water lines. So even though we don’t live on the coast and have the potential of hurricane damage, we do need to be wise and prudent. That year I got out the hurricane check off list and went shopping. I took $5.00 a week from our paycheck and bought canned and boxed goods one week, disposal dinnerware and things another week and so on. Hurricane season is from June 1st through November 30th so I had many weeks of collecting things. If we were blessed to not have to use the food items I bought, we would donate them to the homeless shelter here in town during their Thanksgiving Food Drive.
I’d like to share with you what we have done over the last few years. We have a hall closet that we have dubbed the Hurricane Supply Closet. We don’t use the entire closet, just the bottom floor area. Like I said, starting the beginning of June, I start purchasing items from the Hurricane Supply list put together by Channel 9. We get paid every other week so I take $10.00 out of that money and get canned and boxed goods and batteries, and whatever else is on that list. Coming out of our paycheck like this isn’t the big blow that it usually is to people who are running to the grocery store to get whatever they can when they hear a storm is on the way. Another thing we have done is when we are finished drinking our milk and large bottles of juice, I immediately clean out the plastic container and fill them 3/4 full of water. We have a water purification system in our home so we fill the jugs with purified water. I then put these containers into my freezer. This way we have lots of frozen jugs of water that can be used for drinking. They also act as ice packs for our coolers when we need to keep perishable foods cold. Over the years I have come up with recipes that would be good food for my family and also something that can be stored well. Just going out to buy canned goods isn’t any good if you don’t have a plan for them. I’ll include my recipes at the end of this article for you.
Being a home school mom I got to thinking about how the hurricane season could affect my homeschooling. As far as school goes, I am one of those moms who likes to have all her ducks in a row at the beginning of summer. I know what books I’ll need and what we will have on hand. Since there is still the possibility of us in the Central Florida area having to go to a shelter of some kind I decided that I needed to have a home school moms supply list. I presently home school two lower elementary children but have also had high schoolers in the last few years. Through much sitting, pondering and prayer I found a solution to this potential problem. I have a medium sized suitcase with wheels. I looked at our school books and supplies that I had on hand for the upcoming school year and decided to go ahead and pack everything in this suitcase. This way I could take it with me and not worry about having to replace anything if we had to evacuate. My reason for this was to not have that added expense of having to replace everything. I also have an old diaper bag that I have kept from our last child, that I fill with small travel games, coloring books, colored pencils, plain paper with clip boards, and some fun books to read. This would be used to keep my kids occupied. I don’t let them pack electronic games because these take batteries that might be needed elsewhere.
Tips on Saving Time and Money:
- Start to buy things from the check list a little bit at a time. A downloadable guide can be found at www.wftv.com/hurricanes.
- If your child is in diapers or pull ups, start to put aside a few of those each time you purchase a package of them. This way you won’t have that huge expense if a storm is on the way. Stock up on extra formula.
- Clean out your old milk jugs and large juice bottles. Fill them 3/4 full and freeze them.
- Buy an extra pound of ground beef when you are grocery shopping. Brown it and freeze it.
- Look at your school supplies and have them in an area where you can grab them quickly if needed.
- Fill an old diaper bag or back pack with games, coloring items, puzzles and paper and have it in an area where you can grab it quickly
- Make sure that you have an ample supply of needed medicines on hand. Stock up an extra month’s worth if you can.
- Keep your gas tank about half full at all times. Those gas lines are horrible if you are trying to get gas in order to get out of town and it won’t cost you as much to fill your tank.
- Start to put away two or three dollars a week in a Hurricane Cash Can. Money is always needed at this time and you might not be able to get to the bank to get the cash you need. Purpose not to spend this money until hurricane season is over.
It is not healthy, nor is it thinking of others, to have the attitude about hurricanes that I once did. I have come to learn that not only is it a good idea to be prepared but that the Lord could use me in the lives of others during this time. Several of our friends and family live along the coast of Florida and there are times that we have extended the invitation for them to come and stay with us when a storm seems to be approaching their area. Opening our home that the Lord has given to us has been a huge thing for our family. We LOVE having visitors!! To help with sleeping arrangements, we have purchased a couple of full sized blow up mattresses and since we have 8 in our family, we have many sleeping bags. If in the event that a family needs to stay with us, I do request that they bring their own pillows, since we don’t have an abundance of those. If your house has five bedrooms like ours does, or it is small and has three bedrooms, the Lord can still use you to have a safe refuge for those needing it. Be in prayer about what the Lord would have you to do to keep your family prepared and a refuge for others who may need your help.
Recipes In One or Two Pots:
If you have frozen meat in your freezer, you’ll want to use this meat up first. Here are a few recipes for your frozen meats. I’ll add meatless recipes afterwards. We have a camping cook stove with propane cans that we keep ready during hurricane season.
Chili and Brown Rice: Two cans of spicy chili beans, two cans of Great Northern Beans, one large can of diced tomatoes, one pound of browned ground beef. Put all this in a pot and cook over medium-low heat. In another pot, boil two cups of water. When water is boiling, add one cup of brown rice. Cook covered for 45 minutes on low heat. Serve the chili over the rice to make a filling dinner. Feeds 6 (Rice can be cooked ahead and frozen also. This will save on using precious water)
Spaghetti: Cook a 16 ounce box of spaghetti according to directions on the box. Drain the spaghetti and add a pound of browned ground beef and one or two cans of already made spaghetti sauce. (I use canned during this time so we don’t accidentally break any jars). Feeds 6. Serve with any bread you have available.
Autumn Chicken: Brown chicken breasts in a little bit of oil. When browned on both sides, drain off the oil. Put chicken back in pan and top with a can of green beans (that has been drained first) and a large can of sweet potatoes (drain half the liquid first). Cook for 30 minutes over medium-low heat. Serve with any bread you have available.
Beef and Broccoli: Slice roast beef into strips and brown in a little bit of oil. Add two cans of tomato soup, 1/3 cup soy sauce, 1/3 cup vinegar, 1/4 tsp. pepper, 1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, stir well. Add the broccoli flowerets and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring often. Serve over brown rice.
Black Beans, Rice, and Chips: In a pot, bring two cups of water to boil. Add one cup of brown rice, cover and cook on low heat for 45 minutes. In another pan, brown chopped onion, diced green pepper along with 1/4 tsp. of cilantro and 1/4 tsp. cumin. Add two cans of black beans and one can of corn, drained. Stir and cook over medium/low heat for 20 minutes. When the rice is done, put a small pile of it on a dinner plate. Top rice with black beans. Top this with salsa. Eat with Taco Chips.
Cowboy Soup: In a large pot put a large can of diced tomatoes, small can of tomato sauce, four cups of water, two cans drained potatoes/green beans, two cans drained corn, 1/4 tsp. garlic powder, dash of pepper. Cook over medium/low heat for 30 minutes. 8 servings.
Brown Rice: My friend Lois Breneman shares that you can cook up the brown rice ahead of time and freeze it in portion sized bags. That way it is already cooked and all you need to do is warm it up a bit in your skillet or microwave if you have power.
Some Non-Perishable Groceries I Keep on Hand:
- Campbell’s chunky soups
- Ramen noodle soups
- peanut butter
- crackers of all kinds
- dried fruit
- canned nuts (unsalted)
- juice in boxes
- snack bars (Balance B)
- Cliff Bars from health food stores