I know this is truly an awful situation for so many… My heart is breaking for those who have lost loved ones or jobs as well as our medical workers and so many average Americans who have lost their paychecks for the next several weeks.
However, I now find myself in the position of being able to help all of you who are stuck at home, perhaps learning to cook, cooking more than usual or tightening up your grocery budget. And that makes me excited.
I’m excited that I’m able to help people, and I’m looking forward to silver linings and the positive differences that will emerge after we all pull together and come through this.
My vision is that people figure out how to make home cooking comfortable, and then it becomes a new normal for them.
I want us to be writing our kids’ memories, so that when they look back on this time in 10, 20, or 30 years (and they will remember it, believe me!), they’ll say things like, “Remember when we couldn’t go to school and we ended up learning how to cook?” Or “Remember how we got through COVID-19 as a family? That was really when we came together…”
What will your family’s memories be? What will your family dinner table be filled with?
If you or anyone you know is building your skills as a home cook for the first time, or you’re looking to pick up some new pantry recipes or even food preservation skills, you are in the right place!
I’ve been teaching people how to cook at home on a budget for 11 years. It’s my pride and joy that I can shop strategically and then avoid going to the grocery store for 2 weeks!
Let this guide be your resource center, a clearinghouse for all the helpful tips, recipes, and encouragement found on Kitchen Stewardship®.
You’ll find info on:
- Perfect pantry recipes
- Increasing the nutrition of what you have
- Food preservation
- Food for less to help you stick to a tight budget, especially if you are suddenly unemployed
- Teaching kids to cook (and basic cooking techniques for adults just learning too!)
- Home remedies, because no one wants to go to the doctor for something simple right now!
- Stress busters for families
- And if you need a reminder to rest…OR some activities for your kids, we have encouragement for both at Kids Cook Real Food
Current Events and Goings-On
- Dr. Keesha has put together a COVID-19 Expert Interview Series to provide tools, encouragement, and education to those who are so desperately looking for just that. It will be focused on boosting emotional and physical immunity during COVID-19 to thrive in social isolation through creative connection.
- Dr. Ryan Wohlfort is running the SuperHuman Brain Masterclass that will run from April 13 – April 19, 2020, focusing (get it?) on maximized memory, exceptional focus and greatly productive brain function.
- I’m hosting a Virtual Guided Mediation for Families to UNWIND at the end of the day — join me on Facebook (RSVP here) on Tuesday, March 31, at 7:30 p.m. EST for the prayerful event.
Perfect Pantry Recipes
- Three Bean Soup (Kid-friendly!)
- Mexican Beans & Rice (just like a box!)
- Vegan Turmeric Lentil Soup
- Instant Pot Lentil Lasagna
- Mexican Lentils & Rice
- Honey Baked Lentils
- Lentil Coconut Curry
- Thai Coconut Carrot Soup
- Instant Pot Gluten-free Paleo Keto Chicken Recipes to make from your pantry
- Meatless Chickpea Wraps
- Chicken and Stuffing Casserole (with no soup)
- Grain-free Chickpea Pizza Crust (no eggs, milk or flour needed!)
- Meatless Taco Quinoa Chili
- Southwestern Pot Pie (sweet potatoes, chickpeas, cornbread)
- Make 20 freezer meals in 1 hour under $100 – video interview on freezer cooking from Once a Month Meals; get the free download here (click at the top of the screen)
Food Substitutions You May Need
- Homemade lunchmeat
- Homemade sweetened condensed milk (you do NOT need dry milk!!)
- Homemade cream of “X” Soup (cream of mushroom, chicken, ETC)
- Basic “roux” cream sauce instructions (and cream of potato soup)
- Running out of yogurt but can still find milk? Make homemade yogurt with ease, something I’ve been doing for almost 15 years now! I even have a popular yogurt troubleshooting guide, because no one likes to fail and not be able to figure it out. Stephani can help you make homemade yogurt in the Instant Pot if that’s more your style, and I’ll even help you eat plain yogurt with no sweetener, a wonderful new habit to begin during this time since white sugar is bad for you!
- Homemade chicken rice-a-roni substitute
- Super yummy, easy, nourishing snack for kids: homemade gelatin with 100% fruit juice
- Better Than a Box, my eBook teaching you how to make your favorite boxed foods from scratch!
Make your Instant Pot work for you!
I won’t tell if your Instant Pot is still in its box, pinky swear. 😉
I left mine abandoned in the basement for almost a YEAR because I have a new-thing-instructions phobia, but now I have TWO Instant Pots and they’re both in constant use!
Turns out it’s so easy, a kid can do it — I’ll send you a quick video of my children unboxing and setting it up when you grab your FREE download mini eBook:
Get the Instant Pot Guidebook for FREE!
What’s in the Guidebook?
You’ll love the simplicity of your Instant Pot, and the free downloadable guidebook will help you:
- Adapt your own favorite recipes from the slow cooker
- Cook FROZEN ground beef
- Hard boil eggs perfectly
- Cook squash, steam veggies, and make applesauce in your IP
- Make dry beans in an hour and perfect rice without boiling over
- Steam veggies al dente and make Paleo cauli rice in minutes
- Cook a whole chicken and make FAST bone broth
Whether yours is still in the box or you’ve used it a little but want to know more about those techniques, or if you’re still pining for an IP on your wish list, I can’t wait to give you these simple baby steps to success!
Natural Cleaning and Reusable Alternatives You May Need
- Reusable “Make Your Own” Alternatives for Toilet Paper, Paper Towel and more! (apparently some think this is more important than food!)
- Natural alternatives to bleach (EPA approved for COVID-19!!)
- Super safe, super cheap hospital grade disinfecting solution you can make at home
- How to wash your hair without shampoo
- Make soap from scraps
- Best natural produce wash that works
- How to make homemade baby or cleaning wipes
- Best cloth diaper reviews (and a super comprehensive book on cloth diapering by my friend Erin Odom, delivered immediately on Kindle)
- Simple homemade cleaners: vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide
- Tons of quick natural hacks for cleaning
- Simple homemade deodorant (made of food!)
- How to wash your hands properly (science experiment) and why antibacterial soap isn’t all it’s cracked up to be
- Homemade dishwasher detergent (but I’d only use this if I was really in a pinch – I never found them to be very effective!)
How to Pump Up the Nutrition in Your Food
- Make kimchi – this increases the Vitamin C in cabbage and makes food last longer without cooking, plus adds healthy probiotics!!
- Sprout dry legumes and grains – one of the only ways to have fresh greens once the lettuce runs out! Try this sprouted lentil salad.
- Did you know making dry beans in the pressure cooker actually is more digestible than the stovetop? Soaking is still helpful, although you CAN go without it.
- Homemade chicken broth is truly making something out of nothing – out of garbage – and it’s sooooo pumped full of nutrition!!
Simple Food Preservation Techniques Anyone Can Use
- NEW POST: Vegetables and Fruits that Last Longer – how to keep them fresh and use for months, including recipe ideas
- People are searching for scalloped rutabaga lately, smart folks with that long-lasting veg, and we have a recipe for you! 😉
- What healthy food can you freeze? Call me the freezer queen — I’ll make it easy and quick for you!
- Ferment veggies in small batches – those cucumbers won’t last longer than a week unless you try something like fermenting!
- How to freeze guacamole – again, those avocados will only last so long! (Tip: Store immediately in the fridge, even though they’re not ripe. Pull out 1-2 at a time to the counter and put back in the fridge the moment they’re slightly soft. You really can keep avocados around about 3 weeks this way!)
- Top 10 secrets for maximizing fruit and veggie nutrition – learn what to buy, what to eat first, and what actually gets healthier when cooked!
- You can dehydrate fruit to make it last a really long time (even in the oven like my mom does with baked apple chips!) and try dehydrating vegetables as well, especially those greens! Free printable available!
- It’s even possible to dehydrate yogurt! I like to blend it with fruit like a fruit leather.
- All the rules for food storage: what goes on the counter, in the fridge, can be frozen, ETC for produce and grains! Plus some more tips to store pantry supplies frugally and effectively and some ideas for totally free repurposed food storage containers. No shopping needed!
- Dehydrated veggie chips – crunchy!
What About Baking Without Flour?
A wise reader pointed out that whole grain flour shouldn’t be stored in large quantities outside a freezer, which is true. So what is a family without a grain mill to do? There are recipes that use whole grains (not flour) or nuts to bake, so I would start collecting those! Here are a few:
- Gluten-free flatbread (uses whole buckwheat and brown rice and a blender, can use other whole grains and even lentils!)
- Grain-free almond apple pancakes (uses whole almonds and a food processor, no flour at all)
- I know there are other whole grain options; I’ll be on the lookout!
Need More Baby Steps?
Here at Kitchen Stewardship®, we’ve always been all about the baby steps. But if you’re just starting your real food and natural living journey, sifting through all that we’ve shared here over the years can be totally overwhelming.
That’s why we took the best 10 rookie “Monday Missions” that used to post once a week and got them all spruced up to send to your inbox – once a week on Mondays, so you can learn to be a kitchen steward one baby step at a time, in a doable sequence.
Sign up to get weekly challenges and teaching on key topics like meal planning, homemade foods that save the budget (and don’t take too much time), what to cut out of your pantry, and more.
- I’ve lauded cabbage for a long time as a healthy, long-lasting vegetable with so many uses!
- Make your own sourdough starter and bake homemade bread without even needing to buy yeast. Here are my instructions for and download this guide from my friend Wardee to help.
- 5 ways to stretch your real maple syrup at the bottom of this post on the health benefits of maple syrup
- Cooking with dry beans will always be a frugal habit
- If you had to buy a whole chicken for the first time because boneless/skinless breasts were all gone, here’s how to adapt boneless/skinless chicken breast recipes to use a whole chicken! (If you didn’t…you should. It’s highly economical, especially because of the next tip…)
- Did you know you can use the same chicken bones three times to make broth?
- My kids and I made a video of our favorite beans and rice meal – pinto gallo. If they can do it themselves, you can too!
- Dinner for a Dollar: 20 ingredients you need to cook simple, healthy meals from my brilliant friend Stephani who lived on a $25 food budget for years!! 😮
What About Intermittent Fasting?
Call me crazy, but I was thinking…is now a perfect time to try intermittent fasting if you’ve been considering it?
- You generally eat less food, which is prudent right now perhaps
- The hardest part is often socializing in the evenings — not a prob anymore
- You might even get to sleep in a little since kids aren’t heading off to school, making extending the fast longer even easier
- There are so many health benefits, and we all desire health right now
My husband and I actually accidentally started trying IF a few weeks ago (I know that “accidentally” part sounds weird but there’s a story), and it’s been the easiest “diet plan” we’ve ever tried. You really don’t feel deprived, unlike calorie restriction or an elimination diet meal plan like Whole30 or AIP, because for each meal you eat what you want, and you’re not starting your metabolism and then telling it to stop!
What do you think? Here’s a great recent guest post on the benefits of intermittent fasting.
Teaching Kids to Cook
We’re all about getting kids in the kitchen:
Love baking with your kids?
Empower them and build their confidence with the Holiday Baking Challenge from Kids Cook Real Food!
And we realize adults might need some basic primers as well. 🙂 How about these?
- Healthy things kids can cook
- Basic whole wheat pizza dough recipe
- Gluten-free crispy crust pizza dough
- Homemade blender hummus
- Cornbread: Whole wheat or gluten-free
- Homemade whole wheat tortillas
- Homemade gluten-free tortillas
- Our favorite homemade pancakes (super fluffy and 100% whole grain!) Tip: Make with water instead of milk to be budget-friendly and quarantine-friendly
- Gluten-free pancakes (same tip as above)
Home Remedies for all the Normal Stuff
Because no one wants to go to the doctor for something simple right now!
- Home remedies for pneumonia (and how to see it in a toddler – some super weird symptoms!)
- Home remedies for croup
- Home remedies for ear infection (seriously, most are viral, not bacterial, so they don’t need antibiotics, and either way most kids recover in a few days anyway…help make your child more comfortable with these tips)
- Kicking a skin infection without antibiotics
- More ways to fight infections (general) without antibiotics
- Natural remedies for infections
- What to eat if someone is throwing up
- Long-term side effects of antibiotics (in case you’re not convinced to use them very sparingly, from an MD)
- Natural remedies for pain relief
What to Order to Get You Through
- MyGreenFills is giving AWAY 2 bottles of hand soap to you! Gentle on the hands, “as seen on Ellen” LOL, and the LAST bottle of soap you’ll ever need to buy because they’re refillable. Save the Earth while you’re keeping your family healthy (and the images of handwashing over here are necessary to show kids!!).
- Paleovalley meat sticks are 100% grass-fed, US-raised, and shelf-stable! We might have 100 or so on hand here… Save 10% with the code KITCHEN10, automatically loaded at that link! We take these everywhere we travel…although that’s not as applicable now…but shelf-stable, healthy, high protein snacks are!!
- Wild Pastures (check here to see if they deliver to your area!) is on a mission to make nourishing, sustainable, pasture-raised meats available to everyone at the lowest prices. They only source from family farmers in the USA using rotational grazing practices to raise the healthiest and happiest animals on open grass pastures. You can get 100% Grass Fed and Pasture-Raised Meats from Wild Pastures that are the highest quality, ethically raised, sustainable meats sourced from family farmers right here in the USA delivered to your doorstep monthly for 25-40% savings.
- Many experts are saying that cleaning your air is important to reduce the spread of viruses — we have our Air Doctor air filters in every room, running constantly! Get $300 off and a free carbon filter right now!
- I made my order from Just Thrive as soon as I could to make sure we’d still have probiotics and Vitamin K (an important co-factor in Vitamin D). Use the code Katie15 for 15% off! (Or try Perfect Supplements with the code KS10 for 10% off, because they also have Vitamin D if it’s back in stock…)
- These Vitamin D&K drops from Raise them Well are easy for kids to take and what we use for our little guy! You can also find them on Amazon.
- Wellnesse is offering quite a deal on their personal care products – the first and only discounts ever offered! Save 10% off $45.00 with coupon code: STAYWELL10; or 15% off $85.00 with coupon code: STAYWELL15; or 20% off $200.00 with coupon code: STAYWELL20.
- Claim your penny bottle of Dry Farm wine if you’re not going to the store – keto-approved, no sugar, super clean wines. Just what we need in these times, and delivered to your door! (Yep, they’re considered an “essential item” LOL!)
- Fit2Be has a birthday, and everything is 41% off just for March 26-27! This is a favorite exercise program for one of our Kitchen Stewardship® team members!
- HeartMath is teaching a Care Focus technique to replace Fear with Managed Concern so that the fear doesn’t overwhelm our immune system.
- I get my hand sanitizer, if it matters, from Grove Collaborative (house brand) – they have a pump and a spray, and we like the smell of both. Be sure to sign up for Rakuten first, add the extension to your browser or app on your phone, and you’ll save a few more bucks every time you shop at Grove!
Silver nanoparticles have been shown in studies to “be active against several types of viruses.”
3rd Rock’s Silver Excelsior Serum and Silver Infusion Tonic has their patented Chelated Silver Oxide. It’s different and unique in the silver world compared to common, run-of-the-mill ‘colloidal silver’ (source).
This silver is high quality with many health-benefits. Containing amino acids, citrates, and kosher vegetable USP grade glycerin, 3rd Rock silver sticks to and penetrates cell walls—delivering silver oxide straight to cells to bolster their fight against infections in and on the body.
Did You Buy Bottled Water?
I hope not!
Let’s figure out food and water without hysteria folks…
I was at Costco recently and asked the cashier if people were stocking up on things. She said, “Holy cow, it’s crazy… But it’s not food, it’s sanitizing wipes, toilet paper, and bottled water.”
I stood there, mouth agape for a second.
She said, “I don’t want to judge, but what really bothers me is that when this is all over people will bring it back and return it.”
More mouth agape from me. I asked hesitantly, “Does it all have to be thrown away?”
“Not the toilet paper, but yes, the water. We can’t restock anything edible.”
So there are a couple of lessons here that I think are very important reminders right now:
1. Yes, of course, we want to keep our family safe and be ready in case we are stuck in our homes for a couple of weeks. Unlike a natural disaster crisis though, I don’t predict any reason that city water systems will go down. Is bottled water really the most important thing to stock up on? If you want to make sure you have water for a crisis, here’s how to prepare intelligently with safe water storage for emergencies (includes a free printable sheet because in a real emergency, you might not have Internet!!).
This is the water filter we have, which would allow me to filter even nasty water from my neighbor’s pool. I will never really have cause for concern even if infrastructure goes down for some unforeseen reason in the future.
2. If you do feel compelled to stock up on water, don’t buy individual bottles unless you are willing to use them in your normal life. It’s not worth all that waste, all that plastic not recycled, all the fuel used to ship that water around, for your convenience to return it. Do. Not. Return. Bottled. Water! After this virus has had its heyday, we still have an earth to live on for many thousands of years in the future. Don’t throw that away just because you’re freaking out. I see that Costco now won’t accept bottled water or TP or wipes for returns, and I’m soooo glad!
3. Remember that stress may have more long-term and short-term ramifications than your risk of actually contracting coronavirus. Don’t spend all day reading about it.
As someone with a few months of food always in my basement and freezers, I know a thing or two about actual preparedness, not hysteria induced “let’s prepare for a crisis one day before it happens” stuff. I will be sharing over the next few days some ideas on what you might truly want to spend time and money stocking up on. Spoiler alert: it’s not bottled water!
I hope this guide gives you some hope and inspiration as you’re figuring out how to navigate life at home. Let’s all pull together and help each other through these hard times.
Stress Busters for Families
Top Resources from the KS Facebook Page:
If you are a visual or auditory learner, these are all video chats or demos just for you! 🙂
- What Produce Lasts the Longest (and can be frozen) for Possible Coronavirus Quarantine?
- 3 Tricks to Make MORE Food Out of Practically Nothing!
- Coronavirus? Building the Immune System for Kids and Adults
- Most Important Way to Start the Day to Reduce Anxiety — Gratitude!
- Quarantine Hack – Grow Fresh Food from Your Pantry in 2 Minutes a Day!
Resources Coming Soon on KS:
- Natural ways to sanitize your cell phone
- 5 ways to stretch your soap
- Fermenting to make food last longer
- Dry beans and rice guide
- Stress mastery and anxiety busters
- Immune boosting ideas
- How to stretch your meat
- Ways to connect and build community when you’re stuck at home
- Self-care in the midst of social isolation
- Substitutes for food items you might not have
- How to adjust recipes when you can’t get certain meats