Sunday, February 28, 2010

Day 33 Sabbath, Finding Time and Strength

A friend asked how I find the time and strength to do it all. The Sabbath is a perfect day to answer. It is "One Day at a Time." I finished a marathon a little over five years ago. I had never run over four miles in my life. I had only six weeks to train. I found out 2 weeks in to training that I was pregnant with baby number eight. Here are the principles that pulled me through that miracle and through each miraculous day as I try to manage our household.
1) Pray for and Expect Miracles
2) Take Small steps as one goes up the learning /training curve. Injury will throw one out of the race. Plan meticulously for success going through each minute and challenge of every day.
3) Be consistent in a training plan that will take you to the finish. For the marathon that meant I had a goal to stay on my feet 30 minutes longer/3 miles more each week. Carefully define your goals.
4) During the "Long Haul" in the race itself, Don't stop. There is only one thing more painful than running those miles between 16-24 and that is stopping. One's muscles will totally cramp - rigor mortis style. To keep moving requires constant listening to God. He will let us know what to do. Variety and creativity change the pace and keep the momentum in a forward direction. Trials come, life is tough. Don't give up.

With God, nothing is impossible. He wants our success especially in our homes. To fix three meals a day from scratch, to create a nurturing atmosphere, to be prepared is a challenge. There are a million obstacles that can take one off course. Strength comes from a loving Father in Heaven and Time is His so we have to spend it as He wants then we will be successful.

I love listening to "The Lords Prayer" performed by Andre Bocelli with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. This performance captures our total dependence on the Lord."Give us this day our daily bread."

I finished the marathon because I covenanted with God that if He helped me, I would use the experience as an example that faith works, that miracles are real, that God hears and answers prayers.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Day 32 The Stakes are Up

We are out of our comfort zone. For the last month we have eaten basically the same dishes we are used to; we've had all the meat and fresh produce we wanted; we've enjoyed the novelty of making frozen yogurt and substituting a few ingredients. The meat supplies are dwindling. We are down to one head of lettuce. The carrots are starting to sprout (Thank goodness they are still firm and sweet.) Today the three year old has asked if we could buy bananas no less than three times. We often go weeks without apples or oranges or pears or bananas. Rarely have we gone longer than one month without getting the whole variety of fruit at one time or another. This month the stakes are higher.

At lunch today the five year old cried for chocolate milk for a half hour. The first seven minutes I was feeling guilty thinking maybe I should accommodate her wants. Then as the tantrum continued, I changed my opinion. I am glad for the opportunity to say "No." I wonder how often the answer was "No" for children of the great depression or The Greatest Generation that fought in WWII? In our affluence we have forgotten how to forget ourselves. Our children (and too many adults) can think only of satisfying their wants in plain English that means "spoiled rotten." Thank goodness it is a learned trait and therefore can be unlearned.

Breakfast: Granola and yogurt, cinnamon toast, leftovers
Lunch: Chicken tetrazinni, fruit drink
Snack: Carrot Sticks and Squash Pumpkin Bread
Dinner: Cheesy tuna melts on Whole Wheat Bread, canned peaches

Friday, February 26, 2010

Day 31 Going Green and What Does your Mom Do?

Shopping once every three months is an eco friendly lifestyle. When I noticed my wallet is not bulging with receipts, I began to count the ways this is minimizing paper, cardboard, plastics,and tin in the environment. 1) Buying in bulk requires only a large paper sack which I empty in to a bucket that I recycle from Walmart or Sam's Bakeries then refill. 2) Home preservation uses canning bottles that can be reused for decades. 3) Cooking at home uses a lot of canned goods that come in tin containers that can easily be recycled. 4) Eating at home uses dinnerware that is washable and decreases the amount of paper plates, cups, and utensils in the garbage from eating out. 5) The most exciting reason is that there are only four receipts for groceries in twelve weeks, not three every week. I'm sure there are many more intrinsic reasons a home based meal plan protects the environment. Chiefly, I would contend that people nurtured at home are more self reliant and responsible, requiring less government intervention in the first place.

My friend is a stay at home Mom. When her elementary school children disclosed this fact to their friends, they received an incredulous look and the question "What does she do all day?" The children replied, "Cook dinner." We chuckle that of all the tasks a mother squeezes into her day the most memorable to the children is dinner. Don't clean clothes count? Even more amusing is the attention that the High School Crowd gives to the menu jotted on the fridge. It is a novelty. "Your Mom really cooks these things? with a vegetable? You have a salad at almost every meal?" Stay at home Mom's who cook are an endangered species. Our society would reap lasting benefits by rekindling the hearths of home.

I felt a little anxiety that we might have to go to the store when I changed the furnace filter. I did not know if we had any replacements. Then I discovered my husband has a three months supply. Husbands are wonderful.

We can't find any more corn starch. I am using flour to thicken gravy, the lemon filling for the jelly roll cake, and the tomato sauce for the pizza we had for dinner tonight.

Breakfast: Apple Pie Pizza with dehydrated apples that I soaked for 10 minutes in warm water and layered with yogurt cream cheese flavored with brown sugar and vanilla, and topped with crumb mixture of flour, sugar, oats, and butter. Yogurt malt to drink.
Lunch: Tacos, (shells that were a little stale - on the shelf too long-meat, lettuce, cheese, home bottled diced tomatoes) refried red beans, yellow cake with lemon topping.
Dinner: This morning I formed the pizza crust and put in the freezer. This evening it thawed for 10 minutes while we assembled the pizza sauce, cheese and fresh basil. (An few months ago, the grocery store had basil plants for sale. It has not died with nothing more than a little water every other day or so. Tonight is the first time I have pinched off a leaf. Fresh basil is delicious. The three year old is the only one who didn't approve. I use old microwave turn tables for pizza stones. They turn out a crispier crust than cookie sheets and save the cost of expensive stones. The cheese pizza was a success.

Yea, it is not midnight!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Day 30 Yea! 900 Meals Down -1800 To Go

Honestly, this is a catch twenty two. I am exhausted from a few extra tasks being added to our daily existence - like making yogurt, substituting eggs and blogging at midnight. At the same time I am exhilarated to find new freedom at learning how to modify recipes or cook new dishes like the Alfredo. I suppose exhaustion is expected of any learning curve. It is hard to integrate new material but once you've learned, it is a new survival skill that makes life much easier, and decreases anxieties and stress.

Breakfast: Scones with our usual Bread recipe. We ground 25 pounds of white wheat. I won't have to grind wheat for he next batch of bread. That helps decrease the mess and confusion if the grinder only has to make noise once every two weeks. Sides were canned fruit, Cherry Flavored Yogurt Malt

Lunch: Tuna sandwiches
3:00 Snack: Sharp Cheddar Cheese, celery sticks with peanut butter, leftover scones and mint frozen yogurt.

Dinner: Lemon Dill Chicken with Penne Pasta Delicious. This is made with cream, lemon juice, and dill; with sauteed celery, onions; and cubed, fried chicken breasts with spices of choice like garlic. It is mixed altogether and served over Penne pasta. (Canned milk could be substituted for the cream.) Tasty. Cabbage, Ramen noodle and almond salad; Lemon Jelly Roll Cake and Chocolate Jelly Roll Cake filled with mint frozen yogurt. We are not drinking milk at meals and often guzzle a glass of water instead. It is an interesting phenomena that the water is so satisfying that desserts and seconds that were tempting minutes before are not at all appealing after a big drink of water.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day 29 Parenting through Entitlement and Bananas

To review, the goal in the beginning of this blog was to record a three month journey without going to the grocery store. Over the weeks I have been discovering just why a family of 10 would take such a challenge. A primary reason was "to govern myself," "to govern my own health," "to live within my means," and as a rebellion against a federal government that would make policy that is forever growing the welfare class. I am rebelling against a sense of entitlement. I want to decide my own fate and preserve in my children the same fight. Our food choices are a chief vehicle in physical, emotional, and mental well being. What and how we feed children is an most effective method to reinforce parenting values. Our dinner table can mirror reality. Children are permitted to eat according to how responsibly they act. Irresponsible behavior means curtailed food privileges. One mother I know will provide a can of tuna, a green onion, and a glass of water if a child is disrespectful, dishonest, or blatantly disobedient to house rules. Partaking of her carefully prepared family dinners is a privilege to be to earned. Every child has the entitlement to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness at no one else's expense and that is all. Anything one receives beyond that should be accompanied with a great deal of gratitude. When anyone asks repeatedly for anything including special foods like it is their right to receive it, he has an entitlement mentality. I think the Family Therapist John Rosemond gave a good rule of thumb in guiding wants and needs of young children. He encouraged parents to say "No" five times to one in order to raise responsible citizens who don't feel that they are the center of the universe. For me that means that my children can have likes and dislikes but they soon learn to be grateful if we eat their favorite food once in a great while. Or they quickly learn to like lots of foods and be grateful for anything to eat. They learn to control their appetites, wants and desires. This discipline carries over to other areas of their lives building responsible, law abiding citizens committed to forgetting themselves and sacrificing as they work hard for their daily bread.

Too many in our nation have not learned these basic lessons of life. They present an insatiable demand for food, shelter, health care, and other benefits with no personal effort. This is living a lie. Give me bread and water but let me be honest. Allow my children the same privilege.

We were given manna from angels today. They brought bananas. The two bunches lasted 10 minutes. Everyone was grateful.

Breakfast: Potato Casserole in the crock pot. This was the same as yesterday with the variation of fresh potatoes. This took an extra hour to cook so I fried two eggs for the high school student who had to leave. We started school while we waited for breakfast to cook.
Lunch: Leftover Rice with cream sauce, Potato Casserole and Tropical Fruit.
Dinner: White beans, whole wheat bread with butter, and fruit. The children said this was the first real "food storage meal" of the journey. They complained a little, and had the option to learn to enjoy a few beans on a bed of real butter with salt (my favorite way to eat beans).

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day 28 Bottled Butter

Butter can be fresh, frozen, powdered, or bottled. I've eaten powdered and we are living off frozen. Today I bottled butter. The delicate yellow is sealed in half pint canning jars. I'll open them in 4 weeks and we will report on the venture. There are many sites on preparedness and food storage. This one is comprehensive and Wendy DeWitt has a comprehensive blog for more "How to's" of food storage. I am excited to try bottled cakes, shelf stable eggs and bottled cheddar cheese.

Breakfast: Hash Brown Casserole in the Crock Pot (Diced dried potatoes, water, Cheese Whiz, ground meat, dehydrated onions and spices.) It cooked one hour on high. Very Good.

Sack Lunch: Carrot cake muffins, carrot sticks, venison jerky sticks, 1/2 orange
Lunch: Leftover potato casserole, corn bread with honey butter, and cabbage salad
Dinner: Chicken pockets, Rice, Green Beans, Lettuce wedge. The ice burg head lettuce was fresh and crunchy with nice green color! It's been 5 weeks in the fridge in wrapped in tin foil. The chicken pockets are a pizza dough rolled thin and wrapped around a cream cheese (yogurt cheese) mixed with cubed chicken and spices. We topped the rice with cream of chicken soup.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Day 27 Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

Today one can buy everything ready to eat. The trick is to buy food that one can store at home instead of fast food and restaurant meals. Frozen meals, shelf stable sauces and mixes, and raw ingredients abound. If hamburgers are the fare of choice, seven cases of hamburger patties at Sams should see one through 270 meals (including breakfast). One woman I know is leaving her house regularly for weeks and months at a time. She turns her refrigerator and freezer off. Shelf stable Sauces from Costco already packaged in bulk are right for her lifestyle. What one gives up when buying prepared foods is versatility. For example the cream base of Alfredo made from scratch can also be used in soups, whipped cream, other cream sauces, caramel, ice cream, etc... It would be impossible to use a jar of Alfredo in so many ways. So the more basic the ingredient the fewer ingredients one needs to store.

The dinner we had tonight a huge success. This one was for my Mom. She loves prepared Alfredo Sauce which I don't have. So we cooked it. Fear of the unknown has kept me from even trying this recipe for 20 years. I used some of the asiago cheese that has been in the freezer for a long time, Parmesan cheese, garlic, onion powder, salt and pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg. I have quarts and quarts of whipping cream that I was adding to the dried milk before the children revolted. Normally we buy 2 quarts a year - one for Thanksgiving and one for Christmas. Now I have a 12 month supply in the freezer. We can make real Alfredo all we want. If I wanted to decrease the fat, I would use dried milk and make dried Alfredo mix. The pasta is a staple already on hand along with the bottled chicken. We added cabbage/nut salad and carrot sticks as sides. (The children are really wishing for fresh pears, apples, and bananas. The carrot sticks were to help assuage the craving for crunchy and cold.)

Breakfast: Cornbread with honey butter, hamburger patties, canned peaches, and yogurt.
Lunch: Leftovers
Snack: Candy Bars and Shockers - the whole family relished a sweet which I purchased in January so that we would not be tempted to go to the store. Buying it was a splurge I will not repeat. The children ate one whole case of candy the first week without permission.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Day 26 God's Love

I feel to repent of a remark that I have made on a couple of occasions in this blog. I have stated that it is a false hope to rely on neighbors to provide our wants and needs when crisis arises. As a neighbor, I will share all I have with anyone who wants. Neighbors care for each other. We should know what is happening in each other's lives enough to prevent death by starvation as happened in Omaha three years ago when a toddler, Ezekiel, died after his mother passed away on the couch and no one found her for three weeks. We are a human family. Families sacrifice and help each other out of empathy and love.

As I contemplated this position I also have to acknowledge that there comes a point when neighbors cannot help. It is illustrated in the account of Noah's ark. No doubt the neighbors were pounding on his door pleading, begging, and howling to be let inside. He would have let them if God had permitted it. God in His love and wisdom gives us chances to prepare, he warns and provides opportunities to multiply the provisions. When he chooses to "close the door," it is because the people have become self centered, pleasure driven and carry a feeling of entitlement to such a degree that gratifying those wants is detrimental to all society. God closes the door out of love for His children. Those who listen and are prepared are protected. Those who didn't listen and do not have enough to provide for their own and loved ones are protected as well from further incrimination of selfishness. God's love is perfect.

We would do well to reflect God's laws in our parenting, in our neighborly responsibilities, and the framing of national policy.

Breakfast: Cheese strata casserole. This called for 6 eggs, I substituted one package Knox gelatin for three of the eggs, yogurt cheese and cream for 2 of the 3 cups of milk, baked for 50 minutes. Delicious.

Lunch: Chicken Noodle Soup

Dinner: Pancake Sundays with apricot jam, molasses, syrup, powdered sugar or any topping we could imagine (ice cream if I had more rock salt to freeze the ice cream but I don't). This is a quick Sunday evening tradition in many homes.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Day 25 Lets Get our Thinking Straight

This nation is in crisis because parents have failed to raise responsible children. In a doctor's office on the East Coast, the conversation disclosed these intentions. One girl planned a weekend to treat her live-in boyfriend to his favorite sporting event in a neighboring city. She would buy the best seats in the stadium, dine at the most expensive sports restaurants, and sleep in the most expensive hotels while charging it all on credit cards. Then she wanted to return home and declare bankruptcy. She carried out her plans. It was a fabulous weekend. The hitch came when she could not declare bankruptcy because most of her debt was for student loans. So now, the government was garnishing her wages to pay her debt. The situation sounded so audacious to those listening, another girl retorted, "If they garnished my wages, I would quit work and go on full disability."

Where I am from, that is dishonest. It is irresponsible. These are parents of a generation who will grow up to think this is normal. But let's not fool ourselves. It used to be that parents could send their children to bed without supper if the child wasn't behaving responsibly. This was a taste of what it would feel like if he/she didn't shape up and landed on the street, unemployed, feeling hungry because the lessons of youth had failed to be learned. We have work to do in this world if we want to eat. Today Child Protective Services will not let parents send their children to bed without dinner. And the federal government will feed a person if he wants to sit on the street and do nothing all his life. Many receiving such handouts have the gall to complain if the federal government is providing MRE's instead of McDonald's.

I know of children who refuse to eat hot oatmeal because they feel entitled to a granola bar. There are adults who insist on buying a fountain drinks, pop, fast food and eating at restaurants when carrying debt that threatens the home in which they house their family. That is living a lie.
Sometimes when so many have forgotten what straight thinking is, one can only set his own house in order. Today, that is what we did. We gathered laundry, disposed of garbage, and relocated toys and clutter. The children worked beside me. It takes a lot of time to cook. That means children do chores if they want the blessing of eating. Work we must because lunch is never free.

Breakfast: Raisin toast, yogurt, canned pears, fruit drink
Snack: Cinnamon rolls
Lunch: Creamed tuna over wheat bread
Treat on an outing: Pay Day candy bars
Dinner: Per children request - Oyster soup, and wheat rotini with salt and butter.
Bedtime snack: cinnamon rolls

Friday, February 19, 2010

Day 24 Who will teach the Chidren?

Last August I asked the lady in front of me at the grocery store how long she thought she could live off the food in her house, and what types of food she had. She had a cart full of about $3oo.oo of bread, cereal, chips, lunch meats, fruit, milk, some lettuce, fruit snacks, and other kid friendly food that she restocked about every two weeks. She said she had rice, a lot of pasta and a few things that were "basics" that she could cook if she had to. She said her Grandmother cooked. This lady had been raised on grilled foods, box mixes, and eating out. Her mother did not bottle or cook and had not taught her. This may be a common story in American today. If a whole generation has been raised on convenient fast food, and doesn't have an idea how to cook from scratch, who will teach the children? What kind of family bonding have we lost? Isn't it a little disconcerting to hear family therapists urging families to have at least one meal a week all together? I understand the many directions a family can be pulled. Certainly there are innumerable worthwhile activities that children can be involved. At one point I was driving between activities church, swimming lessons, Judo, etc.. I had 17 "stop and go's" in 1 1/2 hours. It was our busy night of the week. Even then I wouldn't forgo the home cooked meal. I pulled out the one man burner, took the sauce pan and heated tuna noodle casserole and we had a picnic in the 20 minutes between activities. I am not a great cook but with every meal I offer a little of a mother's nurturing, "this is something from me to you with love." I hope my grandchildren will get a home cooked meal.

Breakfast: Quiche with mozzarella cheese, bacon, 1/2 cup celery and baby green lima beans, carrot cake muffins, and yogurt shake.

Snack: Cinnamon rolls
Lunch: Indian dahl (from the freezer), with fresh fried whole wheat tortillas

Dinner: Fried chicken breast cut into strips, stuffing made with homemade whole wheat bread, green salad with ranch dressing, and fresh frozen baby green lima bans, peach cobbler made with a yellow cake mix and canned peaches for dessert (no eggs - I just mixed the juice off the peaches with the cake mix. It took a little longer to bake without the eggs.) Dried milk to drink - by request!

When I have a chance, I'm buying some SHELF STABLE MILK. What a treat that would be!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Day 23 "Mommy, I like You"

The three year old sat on the work island handing me potatoes as I diced them for potato chowder. He felt part of a team and looked up to say, "Mommy, I like you." I smiled, "I love you too, son." We browned onion, added water to boil the potatoes, corn, salt and lemon pepper, diced celery, and bacon from the freezer (purchased on sale, cooked and frozen in small baggies). It would be two hours later after errands and extra curricular events we would finish the chowder by thickening the broth with instant potatoes and adding fresh whole cream. (I have a lot of cream that is not being used in the milk we are not drinking!) Despite the time and patience required of children and parents, in our home we know fixing food is a labor of love.

Breakfast: Hash Browns made with dehydrated diced potatoes. These reconstitute with twice the amount of water as potatoes, then I heat them with meat and spices. The children loved them. I do not often fix them because they are the second most expensive way to have potatoes. The most expensive is a box of Augratin Potatoes that yields the equivalent of 2 potatoes for over $1.00. Fresh potatoes are 8 cents each. So I have guarded my expensive "Food Storage." My parents did the same thing. They invested in freeze dried fruits and vegetables then saved their precious food storage. Ten years later they threw it all away. Most of it was black and inedible. (So much for the never ending shelf life of those freeze dried items.) I don't like throwing money in the garbage can even if it does buy a few years of peace of mind. It is better to use what one stores if even a little at a time. It is called diversifying the home management portfolio to minimize risk and maximise investment. There are three ways to store food at home - one the shelf, in the freezer and in cold storage (like a refrigerator or cellar). A balance between all three areas is needed to minimize risk if the freezer dies, the power goes out, canned goods are too expensive and boring, and storing more than 3 months of produce is impractical . These potatoes are ten years old and it is high time I use them.

Lunch: Chicken Salad on tortillas made last Saturday. To the bottled chicken we added chopped celery, mayonnaise, and lemon pepper. It was a delicious lunch fixed and served 5 minutes before piano lessons.

Snack: Dilly Casserole Bread made with cottage cheese that is past the "use by" date. Delicious after I trimmed off the over brown crust. It did not need to bake for 40-50 minutes, 25 would have been just fine.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Valentines Day

We serve family style with jello, rolls, salads and drinks already served before we sit down.

Day 22 Making Yogurt

Making yogurt from the non-instant dried milk has been a life saver for us. We are used to drinking 2% milk so making the switch to non fat dry milk has been difficult. The children will drink hot chocolate milk or hot milk if it is flavored with sugar or salt and butter. The day to day requirement for Calcium is being met with yogurt and its derivatives. Over the last couple of years I have been experimenting with different methods of setting yogurt. Once I put it in a warm oven in a warm water bath overnight. Then I forgot it was there and turned the oven on to bake. I killed the culture. So now I put it on the counter in a hot water bath and just change the water a couple of times in an 8-10 hour period. It has been four weeks since I purchased a yogurt start so we are using our own start. It seems to work better if I increase the amount of start to 1/2 - 1 cup. To make yogurt cheese, I drain the yogurt through a cheese cloth or flour sack for several hours. The cheese cake on Valentines day was made from this "cream cheese." It also helps if the yogurt is made with more dried milk if it is to be used as yogurt cheese. One recipe is 4 cups hot water, 1 to 2 cups dried milk, and 1/2 to 1 cup yogurt. Blend and then set in glass jars for 8-10 hours in a hot water bath. Yogurt cheese can be used anywhere cream cheese would be used. I especially like it in a cheese ball. It is fat free and a great protein source.

Breakfast: Scones made with a bread dough that is mixed by hand and can be refrigerated before it is baked. This is a nice recipe for artesian breads, fry breads, french breads and "in a hurry" bread. 3 cups warm water, 1-1/2 TBS yeast, 1-1/2 TBS salt, 6-1/2 cups flour ( any combination of white, wheat, and even oats. I made the dough last night ready to roll out and fry this morning. The children loved the scones with peanut butter, and powdered sugar. We added yogurt shake drink, and orange slices as sides.

Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: I tried to serve the carrot curry soup over sticky Japanese rice. The children ate cabbage/ramen noodle salad and zucchini bread instead.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Day 21 Anasazi Trail Walkers and Lessons at Home

My sister spent three months hiking the Arizona mountains with youth who would pay almost $400.00 per day for 42 days to learn something about themselves. The food they ate on the hike made a huge difference. It was the same thing each week for the six weeks. The list of 18 items included lentils, brown rice, whole wheat flour, oatmeal, sun dried tomatoes, sunflower seeds, raisins, bacon bits, powdered cheese, creamer, fruit drink mix, salt, soda, bullion, clove of garlic, potato, carrot, and one red apple. The whole program is designed to take children/youth out of their comfort zones into new situations to help inhibit old habits and renegotiate their social skills and way of looking at life. Most youth have some kind of drug problem, anxiety, depression, etc.. A common response the first night out when trying to build a fire and cook for the first time is "What is this? I have never seen lentils. What do I do with them?" By the end of the trail, creativity, individuality, and resourcefulness has entered at mealtimes and beyond that will carry through out their whole lives. Trail Walkers are spending hours tenderly guarding their "lasagna or enchiladas, or are simmering a perfect tomato sauce." Out of a few ingredients they have learned that they can not only sustain life but they can create a masterpiece. They are willing to take risks because they have been victorious at creating a meal out of "nothing." They feel empowered to surmount other obstacles. As they learn to cook, a new confidence rubs off into other areas of life. Skills that they may never again have to use like building a fire without matches, are a spring board for a life long perspective of any challenge. It is a attitude that "If I can make a fire with no matches, I can succeed at this challenge too." This builds psychological independence and responsibility.

Can we build that same fortitude in our homes and forgo the crisis and $400.00 a day? Living off basic food items builds character. It empowers. It gives a psychological strength not to mention the physical strength. One week my sister reports they changed the brown rice and gave them white rice instead. By 10:00am she was hungry and weak. The more refined product didn't have the staying power to give the walkers energy all day. Lacking physical energy, discouragement from mental and emotional fatigue are quick to follow. I wonder how often our children feel tired because we have handicapped them with foods that are convenient, sweet, and only require that we add and egg or water to the prepared mix.

I was amazed at what happened in our home this evening. After just closing the phone conversation with my sister we started cooking supper. The three year old was whining for a movie, they five and eight year old were running around and around the house. At my invitation to help me cook, they said "Okay" and pulled the chairs to the stove. They stirred the tomato sauce as the basil, brown sugar, green peppers and olives were added. They put the spaghetti noodles into the boiling water and carefully tended each pot. In a few minutes almost spontaneously all the lights on the ground floor were being turned out and they were eagerly tending their fires (unaided by me). They created their own "wilderness experience" and relished every minute of the challenge until the spaghetti was cooked to perfection and stuck to the wall "just right."

I need not report the meal was delicious. We added cabbage, walnut, raisin salad and fresh whole wheat bread.

Breakfast: Creamed Sausage Gravy over biscuits, grapefruit and fruit drink
Lunch: Soup broth from last evening with added green beans, black beans, and more beef

The heart of our nation is in our homes. Let us wisely build a firm foundation.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Day 20 Gaining Confidence with new Recipes

My husband made breakfast. As I gave him the directions, he exclaimed "What!" He had never fixed oatmeal in this way. After eating the muesli and determining that he liked it, he had a new skill. We all had a new way to enjoy one of the basics and it was popular enough that I wonder why I haven't been fixing it every week. The five year old helped Dad mix the cereal and there was a wholesome "family feeling" to start off President's day.

We fixed treats of popcorn balls, Rice Krispies and snicker doodles to enjoy after our evening activity. It is nice to have white corn syrup and a couple of boxes of Rice Krispy cereal on hand to add some variety to the possibility of treats we can whip up.

Breakfast: Muesli or "Swedish oatmeal" - raw oats mixed with sweetened condensed canned milk, (or canned milk with powdered sugar if you want to control how sweet the mixture is)and fruit (Grapes , strawberries, and apples are good if one is using fresh fruit. We put in canned pineapple and Tropical Fruit Mix)

Lunch: Grilled Cheese Rounds made from the French Bread rolls, and Campbell's Tomato Soup for dipping.

Dinner: Beef Barley Soup with carrots, potatoes, and celery. I used canned Roast beef in gravy and flavored it with beef bullion. I'm glad to use the barley. It has been on the shelf a long time.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Day 19 Happy Valentines Day

Cherry Cheese Cake, red jello, and fresh hot rolls punctuated the third Sunday on this blog to celebrate Valentines Day. As I gathered up the leftovers, the miracle of the loaves and the fishes in the New Testament happened again. In the story the disciples gathered up the leftovers from a meal that began with five loaves and two fishes. They fed 5,000 men and had 12 baskets remaining. So often when we eat what we have and ask the Lord to bless our efforts, the food is multiplied.
Today was no exception, we had a lovely dinner and everyone ate to their complete satisfaction. I gathered up enough to feed us two more meals. It is not all explained by simply thinking I cooked too much food. I only baked one roll per plate and still have enough for sandwiches for the whole family tomorrow. It is heavenly food preparation - God makes the simple basics stretch and feed the hungry.

Breakfast: Parfaits with vanilla yogurt, granola, and cherry pie topping
Lunch/Dinner: Roast beef, brown rice pilaf with whole wheat berries, frozen broccoli out of the garden 2009, red beans, french bread rolls, butter, green salad, jello with pudding and vanilla cake parfait, Fruit Punch flavored Drink mix

Snack: Lemon Cheese Cake with cherries on a shortbread crust (mayonnaise substituted for the egg) Cream cheese filling made from 2/3 yogurt cheese and 1/3 cream cheese, and I used Knox gelatin instead of eggs. My husband rated this superior and the children licked their plates.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Day 18 Governing Health - Back to Basics

The food in our homes should center on the basics. Basics are flour, rice, wheat, corn, oats, pasta, beans (pinto, red, black, white or any variety) sugar, salt, oil, dried milk, and a source of Vitamin C and Vitamin A. Stored appropriately in water tight/air tight containers these foods have a shelf life of 30 years. These foods provide us with a diet high in complex carbohydrate, fiber, plant sources of protein and are low in fat. The more often we can eat whole grains and legumes the healthier we will be. The complex carbohydrates provide fodder for good bacteria in the gut which promotes good bowel health. By eating a menu balanced with these basic foods we limit our risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer's, dementia, hyperactivity disorders, depression, obesity and irritable bowel syndrome to name a few. With the zeal of a revolutionary, I want to govern my own health by choosing a naturally healthy lifestyle.

Making no trips to the grocery store forces us to live off the basics. Since we are used to eating this way, 2700 meals from home is - well -minimally daunting but certainly not a reality TV topic. My daughter reports eating form home as "life as normal" so far. There is a certain freedom that comes as we realize we are not dependant on a daily or weekly trip to the market.

Breakfast: Mush made of oats and wheat with walnuts and raisins (for me)
leftover chicken and potatoes for my husband, and the little ones got sugar coated cereal, milk and doughnuts at a church activity. The older children reported eggs and bacon with biscuits for their breakfast at their activity. Thank goodness.

Lunch: leftovers
Snack: Valentine sugar cookies

Dinner: Burrito Pie - layers of tortilla (homemade 12"), black beans, yogurt (sour cream substitute), onions, olives, cheese, tomatoes home bottled stew tomatoes, and tortillas (layered about 4 tortillas deep, heated through served like a pie.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Day 17 The Long Haul and Laundry Soap

"Mmm, this is like it was before we went on food storage. It tastes good," said the 10 year old. "Really? Did the other food taste bad?"

The three year old is asking for bananas. Banana's I can't improvise. Maybe he'll settle for banana pudding. The teenagers are glad to be eating somewhere else tonight - the youth activity at the church. They are fantasizing of going to get gas and sneaking a gallon of milk and maybe a trip to Hu Hot's.

It is more of a mental game to stay out of the stores and refrain from buying fast food for 90 days than a physical challenge. This is the real "intestinal fortitude" I am hoping to develop. We have been able to cook chocolate chip cookies with mayonnaise, make a homemade batch of ranch dressing for dinner tonight, drink chocolate milk and eat fresh salads. No one is suffering unduly. In fact the meals are probably a little better balanced because I'm thinking about them. Being prepared means three months without a trip to the grocery store is almost a seamless transition. (We are not there yet. I am making a wish list.) Once proven that it can be done, one has to stay the course.

Homemade laundry detergent is simple and it really works. I followed a recipe from the newspaper this time to make a 4 gallon batch: 1 bar fels-naptha soap, 1 cup washing soda, 1 cup borax. Melt the fels-naptha in 6 cups of hot water on the stove. Add the washing soda and borax. Stir until dissolved. Pour into 5 gallon bucket. The I added 1 cup of our favorite liquid fabric softener to add a fragrance to the detergent. Essential oils also work. A normal wash calls for 1/3 cup. The detergent will form a gel. Periodically mix it up again before use. If you need stronger detergent, add more borax. Everything is Eco friendly and biodegradable. The cost for 1000 loads of laundry is under $10.00. The compact two small boxes for 1000 loads is far more efficient than 3-4 large boxes or buckets. We may never go back to a traditional laundry soap.

Breakfast: "Pumpkin Pie" made with a winter squash hybrid called "Argonaut" squash. These taste like a butternut/banana squash, are 18-24 inches long, and shaped like a butternut. I cooked them, then blended 2 cups, added all the spices, substitutes know gelatin for 1 out of 3 eggs, and baked it like a pumpkin pie. My 5 year old was my helper. It was delightful one on one time with her while I worked away in the early morning hours while the rest of the house was asleep. We served cottage cheese (yes, the expiration date is 2/11/2010) with the pie.

Lunch: Tuna noodle casserole with fresh frozen peas. I used the multicolored corkscrew noodles. Little changes in the pasta or vegetable make a traditional dish exciting.

Dinner: Baked chicken breast, mashed potatoes -real with 1/4 added instant, green beans tossed with orange zest and ginger paste in margarine, Green salad with ranch dressing, (the tossed greens from Sams are still holding fine.) Chocolate Chip cookies for dessert.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Day 16 No Produce in the East

The shelves were bare within three days in the markets on the East Coast due to a week of storms that have left over 36 inches of snow shutting down supply lines. (Sounds like The Long Winter scenario all over again.) Many, including my sisters, have been without power. The only fresh produce to buy was a stalk of scallions. This brings an emphasis to the need to prepare and underscores everything this blog is about. No matter how much the government or the neighbors want to help right now, they cannot. Citizens are reliant on what is on the shelves in their own homes.

So far we have not made any trips to the store nor eaten out to feed our family. But, the children were asked to take pop to a youth activity. We drank the final bottle on our shelves last week for a family birthday party. They went to the store for pop for church.

I traveled for two days without buying fast food. Five thick slices of zucchini bread served wonderfully for lunch both days in airport terminals. The children managed at home just wonderfully. They cleared the freezer of a meal that I prepared 3 weeks ago out of leftover jambayala.

Breakfast today was Lumberjack pancakes. I especially like these because they have oats and wheat flour. This pancake sticks to one's ribs and keeps a body satisfied for hours. I make pancake mixes and put them in the freezer. We make 8 mixes in individual quart jars.
The wet ingredients to add are written on the outside of the bottle. We grab a jar and 8 minutes later, there is a stack of pancakes waiting to be devoured with plumb syrup.

Lunch: Peanut butter and jam sandwiches if the child chose not to eat the black beans from the freezer and corn that were reheated.

Dinner: The children chose Hot Bread and Milk. They really like it - especially for ease and convenience when they are hungry and Mom is not around.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Day 15 Preserving Produce

My husband gets the credit for this trick. If celery is wrapped in tin foil and then refrigerated it lasts for months. It has been 4 weeks since I last purchased celery and it is as crisp and firm as ever. When I open a new stalk, I use the middle sections with all the small light green leaves first in a soup or stuffing. Then I put all the larger sections back in the plastic sack and rewrap it in the tin foil. I have cabbage and head lettuce wrapped the same way. Stay posted to see how well they are preserved.
Breakfast: Bread pudding
Lunch: Tuna melts with cheese whiz mixed in the tuna, put in a sandwich, then grilled
Dinner: Freezer meal of Jambayala

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Day 14 Good Days and Bad Days

Okay, I'll report and you decide. Breakfast was pie, cold rice with milk and sugar, and squash bread. No one liked the pie made with apple pie flavoring and chunks of squash. I think it wasn't too bad. It looked great and the Cinnamon flavor could have been apple pie. The rice with sugar is a favorite of my father. My children rated it a 6/10. The squash bread served to fill hungry tummies. Thank goodness it has so much squash in it that it will count as a bread and a vegetable.

The children were clamoring for chocolate milk. I feel like I could live at the blender between making chocolate milk and yogurt. We almost lost the yogurt start so I am tending a new batch carefully to make sure we can make yogurt the next two months. The children would eat nearly 2 gallons a day if I made frozen yogurt fast enough. Thank goodness it is healthy - I could use a diabetic sugar and have a fat free, sugar free snack.

Still hungry, mid morning the 12 year old decided to make a "Creamy Carrot Soup" from the Bon Appetite "Light Soups" recipe book. I loved the curry and orange peel blend. He used 2 fresh carrots and 1 cup of dehydrated. It worked well. He had his first bite and almost hurled. The texture was not for him. I don't think we will fix the "Moroccan Squash Soup" I was planning for dinner. I'll log the recipe for both soups for anyone adventuresome enough to try them.

Lunch: We scrapped the squash pizzas that were planned and made mini pizzas on whole wheat bread topped with Hunts ready prepared spaghetti sauce (with a little more garlic) and mozzarella cheese. The children loved those.

Dinner: We will fix a Shepherds Pie with layers of Ground Meat, green beans, and instant mashed potatoes topped with cheese. Sometimes I just have to acknowledge that I have some "meat and potato" palates in my home and curry soups with exotic spices just don't hit the spot for them. I will savor the gourmet soup dishes for a lunch of my own sometime. Some days you don't will them all.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Day 13 Starting Simple

No one is immune from economic downturn. Millionaires, or at least people who had millions of dollars running through their hands, fell victim in the housing crisis of a year ago. Despite the apparent prosperity, they failed to secure a place to live that wasn't carrying a million dollar mortgage. Now they have no home, no food, it is a day to day. My heart aches, if only they could have caught the vision to prepare.

If I were to be starting to stock some food, it would begin with a few extra items at the grocery store. For instance when I saw lasagna noodles on sale well below the best every day price, I bought 12 boxes for $11.00 planning to eat lasagna once a month. A few years ago when a friend said she planned for the whole year, I was shocked. Then she explained that she knew how many times a year she would be making a crab cheese ball. When she sees crab on sale for half price at Walgreens, she buys her whole year's supply. She planned out one month multiplied that by 12 and she knew exactly how much tuna she needed in a year, how many cans of creamed soups, how often she needed ramen noodles, etc... She wasn't concerned if she didn't stay exactly on plan because as she got better and better prepared she had more options not fewer. The first month was the tightest but after that she had to buy less and less food because it was already on her shelf. Money was saved in getting the sales and even bigger dividends came when she saved the cost of eating out because there was a delicious option at home.

One item that I have on my shelves is mung beans. I started sprouting them today so they will be ready by the weekend. I want to make real Chinese egg drop soup with bean sprouts. Mung beans are easy to sprout if you know the secrets. They like resistance. I put a brick on top of the little seeds that have been soaked for 8 hours. Then I rinse the seeds twice a day. The sprouts will grow straight and thick and tall as they push up on that brick. More details to come. We'll see how well they do.

Breakfast: Cheese bread on the leftover garlic bread, fresh squeezed tangerine/orange juice

Lunch: Leftover lasagna, green beans, water
Snack: Frozen yogurt
Dinner: Hawaiian Haystacks with rice, chicken gravy, topped with pineapple, raisins, crushed ramen noodles, chopped celery, bottled diced tomatoes from the garden last year, and coconut. Other toppers might include slivered almonds, chow mien noodles (the ramen was a substitute), picante sauce, grated cheese, onions, etc.... I use home bottled chicken. Until last year I had never tried to pressure can anything. Canning meat is quite simple once you've tried it. Now when there is a chicken sale, I buy enough to bottle and keep a few quarts on hand just for the convenience. I try to use it in dishes like this that allow a good boil before eating just as an extra precaution.
Bedtime snack: Winter Squash Bread made from all the large squashes that we grew in our garden last summer. More squash ideas tomorrow.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Day 12 An Attitude of Gratitude

It is a new Sabbath day. My mother bottled thousands of quarts of fruit each year. One year the pears started deteriorating faster than she could process them and to complicate matters Sunday was the next day. She prayed and promised to keep the Sabbath day holy and petitioned the Lord to preserve the fruit. He did. She was able to get all the bottling done. We had food for the winter. God will protect and guide us as we try to find food to put on our shelves.

Breakfast: Peanut butter and toast with chocolate milk

Lunch: Macaroni and cheese with hot dogs

Dinner: Lasagna with meat, garlic bread, green salad and croutons,
chocolate chunk cookies with mayonnaise substituted for the egg, and vanilla frozen yogurt for dessert.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Day 11 Modifying Recipes - Joy in the Early Morning

The day started at a sprint. My husband likes to leave for work 30 minutes after waking to beat the traffic. This morning was no different. He had to work this Saturday and wouldn't return until noon. He would consent to carry muffins out the door. So I set out to use our dehydrated carrots by making carrot cake muffins. My favorite recipe books are The Complete Make-a-Mix Cookbook and Betty Crocker Cookbook. Beginning with these, I compared two or three versions and looked at the proportions. How many cups of flour to sugar are there? For how many eggs does each recipe call? What is the high and the low for oil? On many recipes I choose the lowest limit for sugar, the lowest for oil or cut the fat by as much as half, add extra protein by adding 3 TBS of powdered milk and an extra egg, and then add 2 TBS of flax meal to boost omega three fatty acids. By looking at the amount of carrots called for I chose to double the recommendation and put one cup dehydrated carrots which rehydrates to 2 cups, add 1 cup walnuts and 1/2 cup pineapple.

To build convenience into the product, I made 5 mixes of all the dry ingredients in quart size freezer sacks. I write what wet ingredients to add on the outside of each sack and put them in the freezer. We are better prepared than we ever have been for lunches next week and breakfasts on demand as a result of trying to use what we have.

By 9:30 we had fresh bread, a batch of yogurt in a warm water bath on the counter, granola bars baked, a cheese spread made from yogurt cheese, and the ice cream maker churning vanilla frozen yogurt. It was a busy morning but I feel victorious. This is Joy.

Breakfast: Carrot Cake muffins and chocolate milk. (Recipe in the January archive "Recipes")
Lunch: Leftover black beans with whole wheat bread
Snack: Frozen yogurt - It is scrumptious. (Recipe in the Jan. Archive "Recipes")
Dinner: Hot bread and milk. This is a pioneer tradition. It comes naturally if you make heavy brown bread and milk a cow every day as my parents did on the ranch when I was a child. The bread has to be whole wheat or it turns to glue. The children love breaking their bread into small pieces in a bowl, pouring hot milk to cover the bread as you would a cereal, adding a tsp of butter and salt to taste. This savory meal is one or our favorites for cold, dark winter nights. If I want to boost protein to balance the carbohydrates, we add grated cheese as a topping. This time we used dried milk. There were no objections.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Day 10 Figuring Finances

People who have no supplies in the house, often times say "We can't afford to buy extra food." After counting the pennies in this adventure, and it seems to me one cannot afford NOT to have a few extra meals on hand. I spent $238.oo per person in January. That shopping is to last January, February, March, and April. This drops the average to $60.oo per person. This is yet a high figure because the grocery amount included snow shovels, a years supply of several objects including jello, and paper towels. I would expect the monthly average to fall after May shopping trips.

Breakfast: Cherry pie pizza with a side of venison patties. The cherry pie pizza is decadent with cream cheese, cherry pie filling and lots of walnuts. When I serve something so sweet, I also like to serve a protein source. One of my favorites is little hamburger patties of 2-3 ounces each.

Lunch: Red Bean, Black bean, corn and Italian tomato heated and eaten with Indian chapati. Wonderful! Mix everything in a one to one ratio. Add cumin, salt, child powder, and garlic. Enjoy!

Dinner: Chef salads. The last time I purchased lettuce was two weeks ago. I got 3 large tubs of fancy greens from Sams, not so much for the greens as for the containers in which I intend to grow an indoor garden. So we must use a lot of green salad. The chef salads featured sharp Cheddar cheese, strips of fried chicken breast, 1/2 a boiled egg, carrot slices, celery, a green pepper circle, and homemade garlic croutons from the bread that is getting a little stale. Wonderful meal. Lets see if lettuce can be the main ingredient the end of March.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Day 9 Wheat a Storage Staple

We just finished reading The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder. After three huge snowstorms in the Midwest, this story brings the reality of preparedness home. Supply lines can be cut a million different ways causing shortages in grocery stores. The Ingalls family survived on a little wheat ground in a coffee grinder to make one loaf per meal.

We started the morning serving "footballs." These are wheat berries cooked in the crock pot over night. They soften and puff up to form a chewy hot "cereal." One child exclaimed "Yes! We aught to have this more often." And the three year old said, "These footballs are for me. They're my favorite." He has never had them before but he finished off a 1/3 cup with butter and salt. Most of the children ate them with honey and milk. Uncooked Red Wheat has nearly 30 grams of protein per cup as listed at . That is an equivalent of 4 eggs. The protein to carbohydrate ratio is 1 to 4 yielding just under 20 percent of total calories from protein. Of the recommended fiber intake, 94% is in the one cup of wheat. What does this mean in the course of a day? It means that energy is sustained by a long slow absorption of sugars. The sugars are balanced by an excellent source of protein, along with iron, and B vitamins. Having wheat in storage is an excellent choice for anyone who is not wheat sensitive. We really enjoy wheat mush (cracked cereal) bread, and footballs.

Lunch: We made individual pan pizza's to celebrate a birthday.
Sack Lunch: muffin, carrot stick, cheddar cheese squares, 2 no bake chocolate oatmeal cookies

Dinner: We made egg drop soup minus the mushrooms, spinach and eggs. We substituted 3 times the vermicelli to make a rich noodle soup that was easy to drink with sore throats. It was delicious. I stock ground ginger in a jar purchased from the Indian stores just so I can make this soup. It makes all the difference in a few dishes like this Chinese Egg drop soup and teriyaki sauce. In the refrigerator, the ginger paste will last a year or more.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Day 8 of 90 Quarantined - in Comfort

Five of my children contracted chickenpox this week. We are staying home for the next fourteen days. If there were an epidemic or a pandemic, it would be necessary for citizens to follow a Self Imposed Reverse Quarantine for possibly many weeks or months depending on the severity of the disease, how quickly citizens arrest the disease with proper hygiene, and how quickly a vaccine could be made. Having 3 months supply on hand is very comforting although I am not as prepared as I would like. It is recommended to have 3 masks per person to help prevent the spread of the virus. I don't have any. Soap, hand sanitizer, antiviral tissues are the other items to have on hand besides food and water. Wish list for May - masks.

I am earning a D in sending lunches. The difficulty is this child does not like sandwiches and I haven't managed time wisely enough to assemble lunches before she leaves. Yesterday I sent ham and cheese, peanut butter and honey, 2 oatmeal muffins, carrot sticks and 1/2 orange.

From resources on hand sandwich fillers could be cheese, ham, tuna, chicken salad, roast beef, PB, refried beans, or a "cheese ball" spread. We could assemble sandwiches on white, wheat, tortillas, English muffins, bagels, pita, or crackers - all homemade. ( I will be practicing on all these recipes over the next 11 weeks.)
For sides we have carrot sticks, celery sticks, nuts, dried fruit, dried apple slices, fruit leather (I want to try), canned tangerines, other canned fruit, and yogurts. For desserts we can make cookies, granola bars, muffins, and I did stock up on fruit snacks and some candy bars in case we had to take a road trip. Once in a while I could add those to a lunch. The trick is not so much what to send but meeting the requirements of no refrigeration, no way to heat leftovers, and keeping it from being crushed in an already overfull backpack. Not to be defeated, stay posted to see how we conquer the challenge of sack lunches.

Breakfast: Spanish eggs - dried eggs topped with diced tomatoes, chopped onion, and green pepper with oatmeal muffins The children refused the eggs - not two days in a row! They taste like "dust with water." This child ate leftover Joe's potatoes.

Lunch: Tortillas with chicken and oranges on the side. The children all rolled out their own tortilla and fried them. I liked the subtle reinforcement that when you are hungry you work to provide your own lunch - everything is not a packaged deal ready to keep your tummy full. They enjoyed eating their fresh hot tortillas.

Dinner: Macaroni/hamburger and tomato (See recipes.)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Day 7 "Food Insurance" a Reasonable Plan

Okay, maybe I am listening to too much conservative talk radio to take on the challenge of living off what we have in this house for 3 months. Nevertheless, I am beginning to see "food insurance" as a good plan to protect one's family. Deficit spending is out of control. Cannot anyone live within his means? The frustration in this area is driving me to cook from scratch, save a penny here and there, and live a life of prudence so lacking in the federal government and world around us.

Back to today, I learned a lot. First off, the dried whole eggs weren't bad! I will buy another can when I get the chance. They taste a little "dried" but not so bad that some good spices and a little cheese couldn't make a patch of scrambled eggs look and taste divine. It seems that we like routine and scrambled eggs are a common fare during routine meal planning. I have not allowed enough fresh eggs to scramble and to fry as main courses and still last 90 days. The can of dried eggs added 2 nice meals of a comfort food to our confinement. (We'll have Spanish eggs tomorrow.) I do not store anything that we don't eat regularly. So if it is in storage I better be using it. Egg substitutes are preferable in baking but I could use these dried eggs 2-3 times a year in a batch of scrambled eggs . Instant scrambled eggs would be better than nothing. We will just prepare for "dried eggs" instead of trying to cover them up inside fresh scrambled eggs.

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, grapefruit, whole wheat toast and butter
Lunch: Leftover minestrone soup, bread and butter
Dinner: Grandpa Joe's potatoes, venison steak, cabbage/ramen noodle salad with almonds

Monday, February 1, 2010

Day 6 Muffin Monday and Rationing Eggs

We were off to a great start making oatmeal muffins for "Muffin Monday" breakfast. Most of the muffins one buys now are more like cake than a real muffin recipe so I modified this recipe from an oatmeal cake recipe, added lots of walnuts and the children exclaimed "Incredibly delicious!"
The twist from a normal muffin was that I substituted 3 TBS of flax meal for 3 of the 5 eggs. The children are a little tired of everything being rationed and had to fry an egg. That meant I have to sacrifice somewhere else.

On a day to day basis, part of my preparedness plan is to let the children learn to cook at an early age and frying an egg is step number one. I think I have enough eggs on hand but I am not planning on serving scrambled eggs. A dozen eggs will bake a lot of cookies and cakes. It is easy to substitute for eggs in most baked goods and is even possible to make items like crepes that require a lot of egg in a traditional recipe. One good resource to learn how to substitute is lacto-ovo vegetarian cookbooks. I have some substitutions listed in the recipe blog. Sometimes it is better to substitute and egg in a baked good and enjoy the real "fried egg." The family will get to taste dried eggs tomorrow. I have had those around forever and they are nasty. I don't even want to ruin a batch of muffins by using dried eggs. We'll see what everyone else says in the morning.

Lunch: Tuna Sandwiches with homemade dill pickles from a friend's garden 2009.

Dinner: Minestrone Soup - Recipe in "Recipe blog"
I had an "Aha!" moment today as I prepared the soup. I used the pressure cooker to cook dried red beans. It takes 3-6 minutes! I brought them to a boil, let them soak for 45 min-1 hour, drained the water and added fresh water to cover the beans, then sealed the cooker and brought it up to a boil. They were done! Pressure cookers are fuel efficient and used on sail boats and other places where refueling is difficult. This is so much faster than traditional boiling. Marvelous.