Category Archives: Bulk Foods

Instant Oatmeal recipe

I love that I can have a warm breakfast available for my kids on colder mornings and I know exactly what  they are eating. And even my younger kids can make this themselves. 


 Strawberries’n’cream or Peaches’n’cream Instant oatmeal 

(our family triples this recipe to make it worth our time to make)

  • 3  cups quick oats, divided (1 cup ground up, 2 cups regular)
  • 1 cup dried milk
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cups sugar or  powdered Splenda (to taste) you can also alter the flavor and use sugar cane or brown sugar. I try and use less sugar.
  • 1 t salt
  • 3/4 cup freeze dried peaches or strawberries (broken into small bits)

In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients until throroughly blended.

We store it in a large recycled gallon size pickle jar with a 1/2 cup scoop.

To serve, scoop 1/2 cup of oatmeal mixture and add desired amount of hot water. Stir until desired consistency.  Some of my kids like their oatmeal thick and other like it very runny. 

Preparedness class at Oathkeepers

I was honored to be able to talk at the Chino Valley Oathkeeper’s Preparedness class this weekend! THANK YOU FOR INVITING ME!!! Click the button below to download the PDF of the handout of the class.

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We talked about getting your garden up and going. Yep, this can be essential to getting ready for any disaster or need. - Being PreparedStart simple…. Lettuce, tomatoes, squash… and all of these can be planted on your back porch in pots and will provide fresh veggies for your family. – What you don’t eat, can or dehydrate.

Next, get a chicken or 2 for each member of your family.  (Or instead, 4 quail per person in your family will provide enough eggs for your family and can live in much smaller spaces. 

If you are able, you can add sheep or goats to the swing of things in order to get milk for dairy products and I was able to show what a cheese press looks like. Yep, It was a good day!

I was able to share 2 important handouts:

  1. My list of go to websites for many different homesteading products. THIS IS NOT COMPLETE and is a full working list. Here it is to share with you!
  2. My local planting guide from Yavapai Extension Office. Here is a link for their PDF:

Here is my list for you: 

Planting Seeds

Cheese Making Supplies

Local Delivery for Grains Meat and Other Bulk Items


Food Dehydrators

Goat & Animal Supplies

Soap Making Supplies

Dried Herbs and Teas

Vitamins and Supplements

Survival Products

Blog and websites from general information:

Budgeting for food for your family

IABM_1437409961 am asked all of the time… “How much do you spend on groceries a month?”

$600 (ok, pick your jaw up off of the ground) Yes, for our family of 10, I only spend $600 a month. Do you know why? Because that is all that is in the budget anyhow! So I make do!!!

My kids do not go without EVER! They just don’t get filled up with processed foods.

Every month, I take $600 cash out of my account. I DO NOT use my debit card for groceries EVER! I would tend to spend as much as I want if I do not budget out cash. I always take a calculator with me to the store or use my cell phone in order to budget better. And I know exactly what I am buying before I walk in the door. A list truly helps.  In this budget, we do buy gluten free bread and occasionally GF pasta. Although, Zucchini makes REALLY YUMMY pasta noodles.

Let’s do a breakdown. 

  1. For starters, I don’t buy eggs, I have chickens, ducks, geese and quail. They give me sufficient eggs and then I sell what I have left for money to go to chicken and quail food. We eat eggs about 4 times a week. And I sell enough eggs to cover their feed.
  2. In the summer, I grow my own veggies, including lettuce that I eat at every meal. We have a 1/4 acre garden and an aquaponics system. We plant lettuce, spinach, kale and Swiss chard for salad greens as well as tomatoes, egg plant, peppers, tomatillos, zucchini, onions, etc. If you don’t have a lot of time, you can plant spinach and lettuce in big pots on your back porch and grow the base of your salad.
  3. I buy in bulk every chance that I get. I buy bulk meat. I buy bulk fruit. Heck, I buy bulk rice too!
  4. We do not buy hamburger helper or rice-a-roni. I used to, but then I realized how bad those foods are for me. So, we make our own. It may be cheap… but… Try mixing cheese in with hot quinoa. Or some ranch dip mix(we make our own dip mix too) in with pasta and a little milk.
  5. I don’t clip coupons anymore because the foods on the coupons tend to be the processed foods that are full of artificial EVERYTHING that I don’t want my kids eating anyway. I do however watch the sale flyers for my local Sprouts and Safeway stores for meat and veggie deals.
  6. I make a menu for the week. I do not always stick to it, but I do make it so I know what we “plan” on eating and what we have in our cabinets.
  7. Figure out your staples in your household. We eat refried beans and ranch beans several times a week for a side. I make my own by buying dried beans in BULK!!!  We cook in a pressure cooker to get the beans going. We also cook chickpeas in the pressure cooker (that I also buy in bulk) to make hummus as a snack. We buy rice in 50 pound bags, and beans in 20 pound bags. I buy several pounds of quinoa when it is on sale and I fill up 1/2 gallon jars for storage.
  8. If I am buying chicken, I only buy boneless chicken breasts on sale ($1.77/pound or cheaper) and I buy a lot of them and fill up my freezer. I do NOT buy ground chicken even though we use that often for tacos and burritos.  Ground chicken costs $3.99/pound so instead I invested in a meat grinder to attach to my kitchen aid and grind my own.
  9. My kids LOVE dehydrated fruit! I have 2 of the big Excalibur dehydrators, that I have running all of the time. If I find a great sale on strawberries, then I buy a lot of strawberries.  They go great in homemade instant oatmeal, granola snacks and even fresh yogurt. We get our fair share of strange looks from people when I purchase 25 watermelons – you should try dehydrating watermelons… they are SO YUMMY!
  10. Costco and Sam’s Clubs are great… But know that your will not get out of there without spending several hundred dollars or more. Every month, I stock up on certain items that I know that I will use like canned goods as a go-to meal add in like corn or green beans or even green chilies. Again make a list.
  11. If you are worried about budgeting, try pre-making freezer meals for later use. 10 meals can be put together in a single afternoon with no problem. Meat and veggies go a long way in a stew. Honey mustard chicken and pineapple chicken can be prepared ahead of time and then put in a crockpot in the morning to cook all day. If you premake the meals, it is as simple as defrosting and pouring in. (All of the veggies are already cut for you.) My secret is to put on a movie and work while that movie is on. It keeps my mind going and then I have set my limit, so I need to work.
  12. Use what you have in your pantry. You bought it at one time for something! Rotate!
  13. Making bread from scratch only takes a few minutes of prep time. We make dough just once a week and I put that in the oven after dinner or when I am getting kids up and going in the morning. We even buy bulk wheat seeds and grind my own wheat for the kids who can eat gluten. Pitas and tortillas are simple to make too.
  14. Water can and should replace kids drinks like koolaid. We drink water and iced tea rather than Koolaid and soda in our house. Tea bags are inexpensive. Juice is a rare thing here, because of juice rotting teeth and we do not buy soda. For tea sweetener, try liquid stevia. A jar lasts forever. Or slice up fruit and add to pitchers of water.
  15. Try buying a pig from a local farm to send to the butcher. Better meat! Try you local 4H or FFA groups, they will often have animals ready to go. This actually helps local and allows you to use all different cuts of meat. Or, you can raise your own. (Not for everyone!)
  16. Find a fruit and veggie co-op. Bountiful baskets offers awesome produce weekly.
  17. I do not buy laundry detergent… I make my own. Fabric softener… Yep, make that too… When my kids were little, heck, we even used cloth diapers. I buy theives cleaner in concentrate and mix my own.

Here is an average day of meals for us.  (Remember too that we homeschool so kids are not getting a school lunches either) The kids ages are 3, 7, 7, 9, 9, 11, 13, and 17.

Breakfast: Eggs and sausage with a slice of fruit or a stir-fry of veggies.  Or an egg bake of eggs, spinach and feta cheese. Homemade oatmeal and dried fruit and milk. Or Rice with butter and brown sugar.

Lunch: PB and honey sandwich with yogurt and carrot sticks. Chicken salad lettuce wrap with coleslaw, or quesadillas with sour cream and salsa with apples and peanut butter.

Dinner: BBQ-ed chicken with BBQed Zucchini,  enchiladas and rice, tacos and beans, or spaghetti and french bread. We offer salads at every meal for the kids. Another favorite in our house is shepherd’s pie. Every meal is cooked from scratch because I want to know what my kids are eating.

Snack: Carrots or Hummus and pita chips, or homemade granola bars, apple or pears, or string cheese (the only thing that I buy that is individually wrapped.)  I always have carrots available for snacks as well as apples, bananas or oranges. I buy all of those in bulk too. Carrots come in 25 pound bags from my local grocery store for only $7. It lasts us about 2 weeks unless the bunnies or goats get it first.(and by that I mean that the kiddoes are feeding them!)

This season, we began raising our own meat in rabbits (we have our first litters to butcher in about a month)  and chickens (we have 23 meat birds that will bulk up in about 6 weeks for my freezer). We also have 4 goats that next season will start giving us goats’ milk for drinking and making cheese. Our budget will go down even more next season with meat and milk. Yea! We have a neighbor that gives us 2 gallons of goats milk a week from her goats and we exchange some veggies and yard work for her. Look into purchasing bulk meat from Zaycon or even from Sam’s Club.  Here is my Zaycon link for bulk meats:

Know that you too can budget down you grocery bill if you just follow those simple

It's that time of year again – ZUCCHINI TIME!! Dried Zucchini Chips

Zucchini Chips - www.krisandlarry.comYes, this time of year is a crazy time… monsoon weather comes up and yes, zucchinis start growing and growing and GROWING!!!  I remember the year that I moved to Arizona, about 25 years ago, someone left a bag of zucchini in my mom’s car at the grocery store… The zucchini wars of 1991 in Chino Valley, AZ.

There are many different ways to prepare zucchini… We LOVE Z-Bread – and have now perfects a Gluten-Free version for Trystan… All of the kids gobble this one down!  Click here for that recipe! 

We make a TON of dried chips during the summer, including kale and zucchini.

Since I have a few zucchinis the size of my arm… yes, I know… you are supposed to pick them when they are little… but, they seem to grow overnight with the monsoon rain. We sliced them thin and placed in a glass bowl.

I drizzle with 1T of olive oil and toss until coated.

Lay out on the dehydrator trays – I run 2 Excalibur 3900 dehydrators most of the summer and fall with goodies for snack for later.

Sprinkle with salt (We only use pink salt in our house… and I grind it … SO GOOD!) Or you can try a BBQ blend, garlic salt, ranch dressing mix (we make our own with buttermilk and other seasonings)

Dry at 115 degrees for 12+ hours or until crisp.  (Don’t use too much oil or they will be greasy and mushy and ever get really crisp)

How to cut an apple!

My sister (and BESTIE) is SO SMART!!!!  I LOVE that she finally put up her website at I know, I know, you are thinking what the heck does that mean? RIGHT?

She and her husband and boys are eating better, living healthier and all processed and chemical FREE!

I was on her blog this morning and saw this video on “Coring an apple!!” Like I said, she is SO SMART! (Because I am one who quarters and then scrapes out the seeds!)

50 pounds of chickpeas? hummus recipes

50 pounds of chickpeas – How long will that last? 

bulkchickpeasThis household LOVES hummus. I can’t keep it stocked and most of the time, when I go to get some out of the fridge, there is one or two teaspoons full left and that is it. GRIFFEN !!! – You know that I am talking about you!

This weekend, I picked up 2-25 pound bags of dried chick peas. Tall Man was kind enough to run and pick up my Bountiful Basket order on Saturday morning for me since I am still a little bit under the weather after my surgery. (day 12 post-op!!) THANK YOU LARRY for running errands on your birthday!

Me, being me, decided that they needed to be put in “our family” serving size bags for better storage… I am only 25 pounds into this bulk journey, and we have 20-3 cup bags and a whole bowl soaking for tomorrow’s hummus.  25 pounds to go!!

Here are a few hummus recipes to keep you going this week!  (serve with pita, chips, carrots and bell peppers, use as a spread on sandwiches)


I always double my recipes and use 3 cups of chickpeas.

Sun Dried Tomato Hummus


  • 1 Can Chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Garlic Cloves
  • 3 tbsp sun dried tomatoes in oil
  • 2 tbsp parsley
  • 2 tbsp of Lemon Juice

Puree all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.


Red Pepper Hummus


  • 1 Can Chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 Cup Chickpea Water (from can) or 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 3 tbsp Tahini
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers


Creamy Greek Yogurt Hummus

(lower in fat)


  • 1 Can Chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp Tahini
  • Splash of Lemon Juice

Puree all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.


Creamy Greek Yogurt Hummus

(lower in fat)


  • 1 Can Chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp Tahini
  • Splash of Lemon Juice

Puree all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.


Avocado-Hummus Dip


  • 2 medium Hass avocados, peeled and chopped
  • One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Puree all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.


Green Goddess Fresh Herb Hummus


  • One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • the juice of one small lemon
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 heaping cup fresh herbs, roughly chopped (Dill, Basil, Tarragon, and Chives, Thyme, Cilantro, Parsley – or any fresh herbs that you like!!)

Puree all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.

Summertime Foods – Dehydrating Pineapple

I refuse to buy processed kids snacks, especially during the summer. I tend to buy in bulk and case quantity. last week we picked up 2 cases of pineapple, A FAVORITE in our household. They were FINALLY ripe

I used my slicer and then I have even thickness and no skins on them. I can easily cut them into smaller, bite-sized pieces too. 

I place them on my dehydrator trays (I have the Excalibur dehydrator… LOVE IT!) and put on about 125 degrees… It takes longer, but they taste so much better.

These are the BEST snacks and can be added to trail mix, oatmeal and even cakes and cookies (if you grind them smaller)

***NOTE: I DO NOT sugar coat these like the ones that you get at the store. If you over dehydrate, they are hard to eat and turn brown.


Organizing your pantry

Having an organized pantry is important in your kitchen. It allows for less time during meal preparation and a much better feel in your kitchen. I know that I feel a whole lot better when I walk into my kitchen and know exactly what I have in my pantry.

We do dehydrate a TON of veggies and herbs from our garden that I use in a variety of cooking when I do not have fresh available. I know that if I bag them up in zipper bags, then I can’t always find what I was looking for when I need it. We also store all of our mixes in gallon sized jars.

In my pantry, I use mason jars in both pint and quart and recycled gallon size pickle jars work great for mixes and bulk food.I don’ t loose anything this way!!!

I also use chalkboard labels so that I can change the label on them if I need to (There are many out on the market. I posted a link to the least expensive that I found on The changable labels come in handy with our homemade instant oatmeal container. The kids always know what flavor is available!!

It does not take a ton of money to make your pantry be usable. (Yes, those are milk crates as extra shelves as well!)


Home-made fruit leather

Berlyn gives his approval!

We have been recovering from upper respiratory infections and stomach flu… ARGH! It’s the pits when all 8 in our house get sick!! I have missed posting on my blog and other sites and am trying to get caught up finally!!!


There are a few things in my kitchen that I can not go without (at least now that I have them). They are my Excalibur Dehydrator and my Vitamix. Home-made fruit leather is so easy to make and there is no added sugar or dyes in them when you make them from scratch at home. (we even made home-made soup in my Vitamix yesterday for lunch – the Vitamix even “cooks” it for you!!!


I add fruit into the Vitamix (KILLER BLENDER if you ever want one and MADE in the USA!)  I added 8 pears, 1 pint of blackberries and 2 bananas along with juice from 1/2 of a lemon and a tsp of cinnamon… then blend until it is just pulp. You can choose any fruit that you like. Applesauce make YUMMY rolls too as does strawberries.


Then, just pour the contents onto the non-stick sheets and spread out evenly. Turn on the dehydrator for about 14 hours… and there you have it… Fruit leather!! I cut them into strips so now the kids have HEALTHY fruit by the foot! Store these in either jars or zipper bags




Beans in BULK! BBQ Recipe from Scratch

Canned beans can get expensive… since with 7+ at our house at any given time, we need 2 or more cans of beans as a side dish.

I have been buying my pinto beans in bulk for several years. They come dried and in 25 and 50 pound bags from Costco or Sam’s Club for less than $10. I store mine in recycled wheat buckets. (Another story… but I do grind my own wheat for flour)

After I make my beans, I freeze them in either mason jars or in zipper bags. (I will talk canning beans on another day!)

(THIS IS A LOT OF BEANS!!)  I add about 16 cups of dried beans to my stockpot and add water to just below the top of the pot to soak over night. The next morning, dump out the old water and refill the water to above the beans and cook on medium until tender.

8 5-cup bags of cooked plain pinto beans

This is where it gets FUN! You get to decide what kind of beans that you want.

Normally, I bag up half of them plain with no seasonings to use with tacos, in soups, etc.

Then the other half I add sauteed onions & garlic and italian herbs and BBQ Sauce, a can of tomato paste, a touch of brown sugar, salt and pepper. And stir is all in. (These remind me of “ranch” beans with onions.

For the BBQ Sauce, I get so many FREE off of the coupon list, buying them when they are 10 for $10 and having $1 coupons… But, you can easily make your own sauce as well.

My 16 cups of dried beans made 8 5-cup bags of pintos ready to use in tacos, etc. and 4 4-cup bags of beans with onions, garlic, tomato paste, BBQ sauce and salt and pepper.

Home-made BBQ Sauce(from foodnetwork):


Cooked Pinto Beans with BBQ Sauce mixture ready for the freezer.
  • 1 (7-ounce) jar or can  tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons spicy Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons BBQ seasoning mix
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 cups water


Whisk all the ingredients together in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by about half or to desired thickness, about 1 hour.

Cool completely before transferring to an airtight container and storing in the refrigerator.

Cook’s Note: Use the BBQ sauce within 1 week or freeze for up to 6 months.