Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What is Taco TVP?

My sweet husband was my videographer, he doesn't know how to focus the camera! I apologize for any motion sickness :)!

A very common question I get is, "What exactly is Taco TVP?"

TVP in general stands for Textured Vegetable Protein. You have actually probably had it many times and didn't even know it. Many restaurants and fast food places use it often in their menu. Most of the canned chili at the grocery store has TVP in it.

"TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) is an excellent protein source that is easy to store and use. TVP is made from soy flour that has had the soy oil extracted. It is cooked under pressure, then extruded and dried. TVP is high in fiber and low in fat, making it ideal for food storage and everyday use. Because TVP is not made from meat, it does not run the same contamination risk from bacteria such as E. Coli and Salmonella. TVP is soy based, Kosher certified, and perfect for those on a vegetarian diet."

My kids
LOVE it, and I love it that they can make it themselves and not have to turn on the stove! We use it all the time in quesadillas, enchiladas, tortilla soup, taco's and burritos. In the video here I am showing you how my kids use it in nacho's! A little goes a LONG way! Only 1 T. makes an entire plate of nachos.

A #10 can this week is only $9.32, the can says 42 servings but we get WAY more than that out of it!

For a free sample, email me at mylitter@mac.com

Monday, March 29, 2010

What does your pantry look like?

Last Monday this is what my Mother's pantry looked like. 

She needed help!

She also hates change.

She decided to get some of the Cansolidator 40 can shelves and see what she could do with them. A few hours later, and her entire pantry on the kitchen floor, she found "treasures" beyond her wildest dreams!

Do you know what happens to cans of pineapple that go 8 years past their expiration date?

Yes, they explode.

All over the back of her pantry! 

This is the before picture.

The shelves themselves were super easy to assemble. It only took minutes. In fact, my Mother recruited some little granddaughters to help.

She stacked two on top of one another on the floor and put two side by side up on the shelf.

A day later, and an archaeological dig behind her, my Mothers pantry now looks like this! 

She keeps the door open.

I think she is bragging...

It is organized for the first time in the 22 years that she has lived there. She was able to find the source of the moths that were getting her boxed items, there is a ton more room, everything is easily accessible and she found cans from the 80's that she tossed!

It is hard from the picture to tell exactly how much more room she has, but in person it is striking!

I am so happy for her and my Dad, way to go!

Thankful for Food Storage!

Almost 18 months ago my front yard looked like this... Two of my big beautiful trees had fallen during hurricane Ike....
We hadn't let enough water out of the pool, and the back of the house almost flooded due to the pool overflowing. First lesson learned!
The week before we knew it was coming and set out to get the house ready. We brought in all the plants and kids toys we could. Nailed down everything possible and taped all the windows.
While many people were panicking and spending all their available cash on supplies, we were comforted knowing that we didn't need to join the rush and that we were well prepared. We ran into Walmart on Thursday evening and were stunned to see the shelves. It was a very errie feeling when your huge super center is cleared out COMPLETELY!
Because of couponing and my food storage there was nothing that we needed, save for some fresh fruit and vegetables. 
On Friday, everything was closed, the kids were out of school and we just had to sit around and wait. Paul, myself and the DuBois Family, took the shotgun and hand guns down to the creek to do some shooting and relieve some anxiety! We heard reports on T.V. of all the chaos surrounding the stores closing early and people not having any food or water. I can't understand not being prepared? Why would you live so day to day that you can't take care of your family in an emergency with the basics of food, when you have the ability with coupons to do it almost free?

Friday was very still, it was hard to imagine what was coming. I can understand how so many people were killed in the 1909 hurricane, you really have no idea what is about to happen. That afternoon the wind started to pick up a little and by bed time we were getting a little rain and large wind gusts. At midnight we lost our power. Paul and I laid down to try and get some sleep, but at 1:30am our first tree fell on the house. We ran to see what had happened and could tell that we might loose more, so we grabbed the kids and put them all in the center of the house. I can't describe how loud the wind was! It was amazing!
When morning came we were stunned at the damage. I guess we thought it would just pass over and we would have a few downed power lines.
We got to work quickly, cutting down trees and helping neighbors. It was a really neat experience for myself and my family. It was difficult. We were without power for almost a month. Paul had to go to Dallas for work and I was alone with the kids, two were having major asthma problems, it was HOT outside and honestly I was scared at night. Without power your world is completely different, we talked a lot more, we played a lot more and it was really nice. Psychologically it was difficult because we were some of the last to get power back. So when everyone else has it at church and school they move on, not realizing you are still struggling to prepare every meal.
Try getting your kids ready for school for two weeks without power. That is exciting. NOT.But I am very grateful for a few things. I am grateful for all food, water, and batteries that I have stockpiled all for almost free with coupons. This is one of many shelving systems I have for storage. It may not be pretty, but I never want to have to worry about how I am going to feed my kids. I can't imagine a more sick feeling than not having anything to feed them or wondering who is going to help us, I hope that never happens.
We were also able to donate almost $1,500 dollars personally, of toiletries to our neighbors and to my kids elementary school. Many people in my subdivision were flooded out of their homes. The kids and I went to "The Ivanovsky mini-mart" in my garage and pulled together almost 40 gift bags for families who had nothing but the clothes on their backs. We also were able to make dinner and bake items with the solar oven that I had and give warm food out to friends.
I am so thankful we were kept safe physically during the hurricane last year, and that the damage to property was fixable. I am also thankful for a supportive family who helps me use coupons and tolerates my stockpiles/food storage around the house! Hopefully we never have to go through any significant power loss again, but I know that if we have to, we will be prepared.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Giveaway: Freeze Dried Strawberries!

Woo Hoo, I had to pry this can away from my children and barely got it before they opened it! 

Below is all the technical stuff, but all I really know is that I have found at least 438 different ways to eat these in the past month. I LOVE them!

THRIVE Freeze Dried Strawberries will have you snacking and munching the healthy way. GMO-free and a strong source of vitamin C, our strawberries are cut length-wise and then freeze dried. This makes them perfect and lovely in anything from your morning cereal to parfaits or decorative cakes.
Freeze dried strawberries retain almost all of their original taste, nutrition, and color, whereas dehydrated strawberries tend to lose these things. With 45 servings in each #10 can and an optimum shelf life of 25 years, this favorite fruit is a perfect match for your long-term food storage. Whether eaten from the can or rehydrated with a little water or the juice of your choice, THRIVE Freeze Dried Strawberries are an economical and delicious addition to your food storage system!
To enter to win, leave a comment telling me what your favorite way to eat strawberries is!
* Make sure to leave a way for me to contact you if you win!

My Story

This is us, well almost all of us. 
Were missing one, I am due to have our 7th in July. 

This isn't really a good example of our family, no one is pinching anyone, at least that I can see. 
(Isn't that the cutest little baby boy you have ever seen?)

I began couponing about 4 years ago with the help of a friend who was a "coupon queen". Every now and then I would venture the 30 miles away to Costco and drool over the rotating can shelving that they had there. But, I never felt like I could afford it. I always put it on my Christmas list. 

Santa never brought me a set. 
Someone talk to my husband about that please. 

I had sets of gorilla shelving everywhere with stacks of cans piled in and never a system to rotate or even know what I had. I would repeatedly buy more cans of things I didn't need because I couldn't see what I had. 

About 2 years ago, my husband got laid off at work. O.K. no big deal, we will just find another job in his same field paying the same salary. WRONG. Out of the past 24mo. he has been unemployed for 19 of them. Our lives changed dramatically. What was a fun hobby, couponing became a necessity and literally saved us each month. My "stockpiles" and "food storage" were what we lived on (and still do). I learned to make dinner for under $1.00 a person and worked hard at cutting every corner. 

We cut our food budget from $1,300 a month for food and toiletries to $425 (in march of 2010) a month and are always looking for ways to make it even less. We found a few things that were very interesting. 

1. Statistics show if you go to the store without a list you spend on average 40% more.
2. If you have someone (usually husbands) run in on the way home to "grab a few things" they buy on average 60% more than what they came in for. 
3. You re-buy many of the items that you already have at home because you don't know that you have them. 

To sum it up: Those little trips to the store are nickel and diming you to death!

What we did was create our own little "Ivanovsky Mini-Mart" in our house. That sounds great and all, but you don't have room?? We didn't either. Our house is a whopping 2,000 square feet, with almost 9 of us and a large dog we are cramped! I had to make it work! I have food EVERYWHERE.

In January of 2010, I read an article about my beloved shelving. Hallelujah! It actually had a name! Shelf Reliance... 
WHAT! They were not going to be selling them anymore in retail stores?
I called the company to whine. 
Where would I get a set?

They informed me that they were only going to be selling them by way of home parties or on the website (home parties have much better pricing BTW) and they also carried long-term food storage items. They forwarded my name to a THE ONLY CONSULTANT IN TEXAS and the rest is history.

I was already writing my money saving blog (www.mylitter.com) and wanted to be able to pass on the savings to my readers, so they could afford a set or two of the shelving in their home that I had needed for so long. The best way and most affordable for my readers was for me to become a consultant. So I am. 

My home is now quiet and peaceful and all is good in the world. Wait. No. But it is now finally much more organized. We have stopped all the hemorrhaging of unnecessary trips to the store. With the Thrive food by Shelf Reliance I have all the "staples" at my finger tips all the time. No running to the store for eggs, milk, sour cream, etc. I have it all here, all the time. I have also saved so much time in my preparation of food. No more cutting and dicing of vegetable, now I just throw in a handful. In fact, my husband has gotten much more involved in the cooking because he doesn't have to cut up anything. 

So thats it. Thats how I became involved. I wanted to pass on the savings to you, if you have any questions or comments please feel free to email me, mylitter@mac.com 

P.S. Yes, I finally have my set of shelving!! Wooo Hoooo! It is a Christmas Miracle!

Thrive food

Do you ever wonder why people have something called "Food Storage"? Are they
strange, back woods, the world is coming to an end, type of people? No! You would be surprised to know that MANY people have a food storage and don't even know it. There are so many reasons to have food stored in your home. You can read my story to see the many reasons why we do. 

** But, the key to a good food storage is GOOD FOOD! If you have to choke it down and would rather die than eat it, what is the point?? If you have tons of spam, green beans and canned corn, what meals are you going to make with that?? I would rather eat well in times of stress, than just survive. THRIVE not SURVIE! 

What is Food Storage?

  1. Food you store in time of need.
  2. At least a 1 month supply of grocery items.
  3. At least a 3 month supply of long-lasting foods that you eat the most.
Why have Food Storage?

  1. Unexpected un-employment (see My Story).
  2. Natural Disasters.
  3. Saves you money (see My Story, again...)
  4. Grocery Stores only carry a 3 day supply of food for your area.
  5. Unexpected sickness or medical bills.
Why don't you have Food Storage?
  • How do I afford it?
  • Do you not know what to buy?
  • Do you know how to rotate it?
  • Do you like what it tastes like?
  • How do I use it?
  • Where do I put it?
Many times people just don't know what to buy, the thing that really caught my eye and impressed me with Shelf Reliance was the online planner that they had to customize my food storage for MY family. We have a big family, with 7 kids and 2 adult I had no idea where to start. I was able to put all of us in, ages, and gender and special dietary needs, and it came up with a 100% complete food guidelines plan. Then, I went in CUSTOMIZED it to my family. I took out things my kids don't like and added in more of what they do. It was totally personalized to US! Go HERE to try to yourself!

**P.S. My kids LOVE this stuff, they eat the fruit like candy, my husband and son love the TVP Taco meat, and sausage. In fact I had to ban the opening of any cans until they ask me first!

What Makes THRIVE™ So Good 

Best Quality

We have searched the globe for only the freshest, highest quality ingredients. Our foods and have been personally selected based on the strictest of standards. From the farm to your home, we personally oversee the entire THRIVE development process so you can have peace of mind knowing you are receiving the finest food storage products available.

Best Taste

Because THRIVE was developed for everyday menu planning, we've made it our mission to ensure the foods you're eating taste great! Unlike other food storage products that get hidden away and never used, our products have been tested time and time again to verify their freshness and great taste. With THRIVE foods, great taste is the standard - not the exception.

Best Value

With a low per serving cost, THRIVE foods are a great way to save money while guaranteeing your family receives the food variety and nutrition they deserve.

Easy Preparation

Easy-to-make recipes are included on every can of THRIVE so you'll never be left wondering how to use the food storage you buy. Because we want your family to enjoy the best taste and nutrition possible, all of our recipes have been developed specifically for THRIVE products.

Easy Organization

Our color coded cans keep your food conveniently organized while ensuring your diet contains the proper amount of balance and variety. When used in conjunction with our Food Rotation Systems, THRIVE foods are continually rotated, guaranteeing your family receives the freshest food possible.

The BIG Question?
How do I afford it??

Create a custom food order
Login or register
Set a monthly budget
Begin monthly shipments

Food Storage is an important part of emergency preparedness, and we want every individual and family to have the peace of mind that comes with building a long-term supply. However, we also understand the needs and budgets of every person vary. Food storage can be costly and time-consuming -- until now! Enter the THRIVE™ Q.
With the THRIVE™ Q, you build a customized food storage plan that we divide into monthly shipments. If you are unsure of where to start, simply use the THRIVE™ Planner, our food storage calculator, to determine how much you need. You can also add specific items to your THRIVE™ Q if you already know what you want.
Begin working on your THRIVE™ Q by setting a monthly budget. Your budget can be altered to accommodate changing circumstances, and you can even skip shipments in months when money is tight. With the THRIVE™ Q, you can build your supply without feeling the burden of debt. It can be as low as $50 a MONTH!
Each month, on the day you choose, the Q will create a new shipment that includes food from your list. The Q is designed to work automatically; monthly shipments will be generated from your list by our program. The THRIVE™ Q requires no customer maintenance once it is activated with your payment information. Of course, you always have the option edit your plan or add new items as you see fit.
The THRIVE™ Q is meant to give you more freedom and control over your food storage. There's no need to buy all of your food at once or keep track of what you need with endless lists and spreadsheets. Rather, you're able to receive everything you want at a gradual pace, using a monthly price that fits your budget and life. We also ensure that you will always get the lowest sale price on your THRIVE™ items.
Food storage doesn't get any easier than this. What are you waiting for? Try the THRIVE™ Q today!

Your custom Food Storage Plan

Planning how much food storage you need for your family is a daunting task. Shelf Reliance is here to take the stress out of getting your food storage supply and customizing it to fit your family. Whether you're starting from scratch or already have some existing food storage, we'll help you get everything you need.
Since you eat what you store, we also want to help you maintain your food storage. You can modify your saved plan at any time. Keep track of the food that leaves your pantry, and we'll make it easy to replenish. Click HERE to start your FREE, CUSTOM plan for YOUR family!


One of the coolest things about this company is that it is brand new! Many states do not even have a consultant yet! What does that mean for you??? Wide open opportunity! 
When the company receives inquiries for a consultant, they will send them all to you! Contact me (Tiffany) to find out if there is a consultant in your area, mylitter@mac.com.

Set your own goals as you work on building your business from home, part-time or full-time. You can achieve your dreams while earning a great income, making new friends, helping others, earning free products, and so much more!

As you share your passion for cooking, learning and preparedness in comfortable home settings, you’ll experience the fulfillment of teaching others how to be self-reliant. While there is no shortage of direct sales companies, never has there been an opportunity to sell such a practical product as essential to life as THRIVE foods. With the great taste and extensive shelf life of THRIVE foods, the high quality and usefulness of its food rotation systems, and the powerful online tools and support material, Shelf Reliance makes it easy to succeed as a consultant!

1 • Party commissions

Conduct a Shelf Reliance Party and earn commission on sales made at the party. All orders not placed through the THRIVE Q, including Food Rotation SystemsEmergency Supplies and one time THRIVE orders, will be paid out at a 10% commission rate. You will receive 20% - 32% commission for those you set up on the THRIVE Q
See graph.

2 • Reocurring commissions

One of the greatest parts about being a Shelf Reliance Consultant is getting a 5% reoccurring commission check monthly! With Shelf Reliance’s proprietary Food Storage Planner and monthly payment program THRIVE Q, it’s easy for people to build a long term food storage on a monthly budget. Once they experience the great taste of THRIVE and learn to incorporate it on a regular basis, they’ll likely remain Shelf Reliance customers for life. What does it mean for you? Monthly commission checks for life!

3 • Host your own party

When you host a party with your own family and friends, you will receive the same benefits as when you conduct a party for someone else. However, since you are hosting the party, you will also receive host benefits.

4 • Build a team

Enroll others to join your team as consultants and earn $50 each time! As your team grows, you will also receive commissions from all of your consultants’ parties, sales, and THRIVE Q signups for up to 3 levels below you. Click here to see requirements for team earnings.

Shelf Reliance will take care of all of the overhead costs associated with starting a traditional business, such as inventory management and staffing. Our toll-free support line is there to assist you and your customers with any questions. Working as a Home Parties Consultant will allow you access to these other helpful tools:

Engaging Training
Participate in interactive web and phone conferences, as well as local, regional, and national events that offer the training you need to be successful.

Professional Business Supplies
We offer everything you need to market your business including brochures, tools, and the Shelf Reliance web site.

Desirable Product Line 
Shelf Reliance offers superior products that are designed to improve lifestyle and help people become self reliant. From THRIVE, our delicious and practical line of food, to our durable, space-efficient Food Rotation Systems, you'll have no problem growing your business with confidence.

Shelf Reliance is a solid company built upon principles of honesty and integrity. We're known for the high quality and excellent design of our products, Shelf Reliance is a name you can stand behind with a reputation you can trust.

People are the most important part of Shelf Reliance. At Shelf Reliance events, we recognize and reward individuals for their accomplishments. These events also allow us to offer additional classes and information for consultants. Make sure to attend these events to receive the training and recognition that will make your business shine!

Earn Free Product!

If you see food storage items that you want and shelving that you have to have :) the best way to get these for cheap or even FREE is to host a party!

Anyone can host a Shelf Reliance party! It’s a lot of fun and quite simple. Just invite your friends over to enjoy an exciting demonstration provided by a Shelf Reliance Consultant. When you host a party, you and your friends will learn how to prepare great tasting THRIVE recipes, learn valuable food preparation techniques, and gain insightful tips on how to effectively use THRIVE Foods in everyday living.

Party hosts will be rewarded with free and discounted products. In the Host Rewards Program, the higher your Party sales, the more free and discounted products for you! For example, if sales at your party are $500, you will receive a $50 credit to use toward any product or products of your choice, and you’ll also have access to additional products at half-price (up to $100). If somebody from your party books their own party, you can receive another item, up to $100, for 50% off the retail price! See the chart below for the detailed reward.

Contact me (Tiffany) to find a consultant in your area. mylitter@mac.com


This is my favorite part at Shelf Reliance, the storage systems. There is a size and price for every person. Part of my budget for food has gone to storage systems, I am saving money by being able to find the items that I have and my sanity by having a well organized space!

* Way to often, I have made a list of what I needed for a recipe, ran to my unorganized pantry and looked real quick to see if I had ______, I didn't see it so I bought some at the store. The next day I found 13 cans hidden back behind the baked beans.... I was tired of spending the money to re-buy items I already had at home but couldn't find.

Click HERE to take a look at all the different sizes and styles, below I have highlighted a few of my favorites. Contact me (mylitter@mac.com) for the best price, much better than you might find on the site!

Available in sixteen sizes and two depths, our food rotation systems were designed to easily store and rotate a large amount of cans. Every food rotation system features patented front-loading technology and fits easily into most storage spaces. Shelf Reliance Food Rotations Systems are customizable and offer a variety of convenient, versatile food organization options. 

The Cansolidator Series

The Pantry Plus ( The big Daddy!)
Featuring SmarTrac technology, the Cansolidator Pantry Plus is a front-loading system that automatically rotates up to 60 cans. This adjustable, expandable, stackable system takes the hassle out of can rotation and allows you to organize cans the way YOU want. The Cansolidator is easy to assemble and guarantees a more organized pantry in minutes. Sturdy, compact, and reliable, the Cansolidator Pantry Plus is the perfect stand-alone solution for any pantry.
The Cansolidator Pantry Plus holds both small and medium cans. To determine which can size(s) you'll be storing, please refer to our can sizing chart.

60 cans
* Rotates cans on a first in first out basis 
* Holds up to 60 cans 
* Holds over 100 pounds 
* Stores small and medium cans (from tuna size all the way to medium 30 oz. cans) 
* Adjustable width (30" at its widest)

The Pantry (40 can size)
The Cansolidator Pantry holds both small and medium cans. To determine which can size(s) you'll be storing, please refer to our can sizing chart.


Height: 11"

Width: 20"

Depth: 16.5"

Capacity: 40 Cans

* Rotates cans on a first in first out basis 
* Holds up to 40 cans 
* Holds over 100 pounds 
* Stores small and medium cans (from tuna size all the way to medium 30 oz. cans) 
* Adjustable width (20" at its widest)

Cupboard (20 can size)
The Cansolidator Cupboard is expandable and stackable, allowing for easy can organization and storage. This is the perfect stand-alone solution for any small cupboard space.

The Cansolidator Cupboard holds cans ranging from small tuna size to pineapple. To determine which can size(s) you'll be storing, please refer to our can sizing chart.

Width: 19.5"
Depth: 10.25"
20 Cans
* Rotates cans on a first in first out basis
* Holds up to 20 cans
* Holds over 100 pounds
* Stores cans ranging from small tuna size to pineapple
* Adjustable width (19.5" at its widest)

**The Harvest series is my favorite. They come in so many sizes there is a unit for everyone. From the tall KING IF THEM ALL 72" to it's little brother the short 72"x 18" there is a size that will fit your narrow laundry room space, to the space you make in a closet to the large unit you can put in your basement!

Check out all the freestanding units HERE.

Food storage management has never been easier thanks to the Harvest 72". Featuring patented front-loading technology that automatically rotates cans on a first in first out basis, the Harvest 72" is the largest, most popular food rotation system offered by Shelf Reliance. This FRS is easy to adjust for different can sizes and boasts the capacity to hold 460 cans. With its easy-fit design and unique features, the Harvest 72" makes food storage management a breeze.
Tech Specs

Dimensions Capacity Up to 460 cans
Height 72"
Depth 24.5"
Width 36.5"

  • Can width is adjustable
  • Small tracks hold up to 15 vegetable size or 17 soup size cans
  • Medium tracks hold up to 11 medium size cans

The Harvest 27" x 18"

Often described as "cute", the Harvest 27" x 18" will fit into most any small living space or unused area. This FRS will hold up to 140 cans and offers the same great features as our larger systems. With front-loading first in first out technology and adjustable width can tracks, this FRS is the perfect solution for those who have a lot of organization needs and very limited space.
Tech Specs

Dimensions Capacity Up to 140 Cans

Height 27"

Depth 18.5"

Width 36.5"


  • Can width is adjustable
  • Small tracks hold up to 15 vegetable size or 17 soup size cans
  • Medium tracks hold up to 11 medium size cans

Looking for something more narrow??

Food storage management has never been easier thanks to the Panty 72". Like its name suggests, the Pantry 72" was created for pantry storage. Featuring patented front-loading technology that automatically rotates cans on a first in first out basis, the Pantry 72" is among the most popular food rotation systems offered by Shelf Reliance. This FRS is easy to adjust for different can sizes and boasts a standard can capacity of up to 280 cans.  With its easy-fit design and unique features, the Pantry 72" makes food storage management a breeze.

Tech Specs

Dimensions Capacity Up to 280 cansHeight 72"Depth 24.5"Width 24.5"Features

  • Can width is adjustable
  • 58 food label magnets included
  • Small tracks hold up to 15 vegetable size or 17 soup size cans
  • Medium tracks hold up to 11 medium size cans
  • Large tracks hold up to 7 gallon size cans

When space is limited but organization is needed, the Pantry 39" is your answer! This FRS boasts a 205 can capacity and features Shelf Reliance's patented front-loading technology. Our FRS systems take the guess work out of expiration dates and shelf life by rotating cans on a first in first out basis. With an easy-fit design and adjustable width can tracks, the Pantry 39" guarantees a more organized pantry or storage room in minutes!
Tech Specs

Dimensions Capacity Up to 205 cansHeight 39"Depth 24.5"Width 24.5"Features

  • Can width is adjustable
  • 58 food label magnets included
  • Small tracks hold up to 15 vegetable size or 17 soup size cans