Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Day 64 Mom Power

I never dreamed I would want to have a permit to carry a gun until I watched Sandra Bullock in the "Blind Side." But then, I don't think it was the gun as much as her calm, most feminine voice dripping with southern congeniality that told those boys in no uncertain terms that she was a lifetime member of the NRA and they had better "Leave my son alone." Thanksgiving dinner was just served up when she turned off the TV and insisted the whole family move to the dining room table where they could eat like a family and act like a family. Like dogs with their tails between their legs, they complied. We need a few more mothers like that who can set a table and with a whisper see that their families draw together to support each other.

Breakfast: potato hash with dehydrated potatoes sausage, and cheese whiz My husband really likes the convenience of dehydrated potatoes.

Lunch: Enchiladas with refried black beans, browned sausage, grated cheddar cheese; sour cream mix made with cream cheese, salad dressing, salt and sugar; alfalfa sprouts, and diced tomatoes

Dinner: Meat twists - a biscuit dough rolled 1/2 inch thick and layered with ground beef and fried onions, then rolled like a cinnamon roll. Cut into 1 inch rounds, and bake for 12 minutes, Serve with a tomato sauce made with sauteed onions and thickened tomato soup. ( I used the leftover tomato soup from last night. This dish added nice variety. The biscuit dough I made was too salty. Use Grandma Mary's biscuits in Recipe post.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day 63 Pets

Our dog will make it through the 90 days without having to eat whole wheat mush and table scraps. He has also lost nine pounds. I guess he doesn't like the off brand dog food that we bought . It was half as expensive as the brand we usually use and I was in a little shell shock to try and buy three months supply for the dog. That is a lot of money. The dog still has 10 pounds to lose so this experiment will be a blessing to him.

Breakfast: Indian dahl and fresh hot chapati. I wish I could make these as nice and round as the Indians. Fresh orange slices. About 5 pounds of oranges were past tense when we sorted, but the others were still nice.

Lunch: Peach smoothy and fresh whole wheat bread with peanut butter and honey.

Dinner: Tomato soup from scratch with grilled tuna sandwiches. For the tomato soup I started with 2 quarts of crushed tomatoes, blended 1 quart to make it a little smoother, added 2 TBS brown sugar, 2 tsp basil, and 1-1/2 tsp salt. Then after bringing soup to a boil, I added 1 tsp baking soda to neutralize the acid in the tomato before adding milk. My preference is canned milk (1/2 to 1 can depending how creamy you like it) but tonight I added 2 cups of dried milk. The children liked the meal and ate well.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Day 62 Food and Politics

My "natural right to life" is defined as my right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Some have wondered what political feelings in particular opinions on the health care legislation have to do with a "food" blog.

First, I have a natural right to life. Inherently that means I also have the natural right to death. The intervention of government in the life and death process has impeded my choice. Natural Consequences are the regulator of the choices I make. For a large portion of my childhood we had no insurance. It was unthought of to go to the doctor for colds, headaches, or other aches and pains. On the ranch we soon learned if we didn't like headaches, we had better sleep a solid eight hours (four of them before midnight). We learned to eat food that was nutritious and filling. No one was going to save us from bad choices. As it relates to food, I have learned to eat or be hungry, drink water or be dehydrated, limit sugar or have cavities and get a nasty shot from the dentist, etc... Consequences are not part of the choice. They are a result of our choice.

Liberty: I define this as the liberty to live my dreams. I can do anything, be anyone I am willing to work hard enough to become. I can do what is most fulfilling and rewarding to me.
Opportunities to build business and offer services free of social casting or educational barriers allow me to prosper. In my choice of foods, this means I can buy what I want. I can prepare what I want. Foods are not limited to a state controlled list. The free market allows me to go to the grocery store in Omaha, in the Central US and pull fruits from New Zealand, Mexico and Europe. I have a great choice.

Pursuit of happiness: My greatest joy comes from giving. I love empowering my children and those around me to be more self reliant, more independent, more giving themselves.

Now, how does the Healthcare legislation impede my natural right to life? Government interference in the last century has diminished our to freedom to live and die with dignity. One specific example is a death of an elderly man that occured after weeks of pain, intubation with a respirator, with kidney failure and the inability to eat. In the interim, life was sustained because Medicare paid. Government hand outs have removed the "natural consequence." Government entilements jeopardize choice and impede our decisions to acknowledge reality.

In applying the lack of real consequences to food choices, the government has mandated insurance coverage. This means that we pay for services to treat conditions caused by poorly eating among others. Natural consequences are suspended. We end up paying for health care for people like the gal in New Jersey who is has a fanasty of being the heaviest woman alive and eats $750 of food a week because she likes it, the legislation includes requiring restaurants to post the calories each of their dishes. The government involvement continues to encroach on our lives.

The health care legislation jeapordizes my liberties by limiting my choices. As I was writing this (at 5:30 am), the "Milk 2 You" truck is delivering fresh milk to my neighbors. The free market allowed someone to come up with a plan to offer regular delivery of parishable products on a weekly basis. Private business increases my choices of foods to buy. The insurance premiums businesses are required to pay as a result of this legislation will push many out of business. In the early 1970 my mother had a small business manufacturing wedding accessories. She bought a commercial gathering machine and in our "game room" on a ranch in Wyoming she created beautiful muffs and parisoles that she sold to shops in Chicago, Georgia, Canada, and California. She employed two or three women who had no children at home. She paid them a modest sum for which they were happy to come to our home and work. When the minimum wage became mandatory, Mom closed shop.

On another front as our government embraces communist ideology, the foods I can choose from will be limited. In a communist country, I doubt that I could have purchased 120 pounds of potatoes, 150 pounds of oranges and grapefruit that I brought home in preparation for this 90 day challenge. I reguard the Health Care legislation as Communist legislation. Listening to anyone describe markets in Russian or Estonia before the fall of Communism makes me shudder. There is one kind of state controlled bread, one kind of butter, one brand of toilet paper, no ethnic foods, no regional produce. The health care legislation affects my food purchases.

Finally my right to happiness is impared. Arthur C. Brooks author of "Who Really Cares" is a nationally recognized economist who has documented the direct correlation between happiness and giving. The generosity of American citizens gives us as a people great feelings of contentment and satisfaction. As the government taxes us, the amount of disposable income that I can give to the poor is decreased. My happiness is simultaneously diminished.

On every front the health care bill effects my "natural rights to life" and directly impacts the foods I purchase.

Breakfast: Peach smoothie with canned peaches (1 quart), yogurt (1 quart), vanilla soy protein instant breakfast powder (2/3 cup), and sugar (2/3 cup), carrot cake muffins

Lunch: macaroni hamburger tomato with the rest of the peanut butter cookies (made without eggs. We added 1 package of dissolved Knox gelatin in 1/3 cup water.)

Dinner: Pot Luck Party for 30 to honor friends that are in town for a couple of days. I tried to serve the vegetable soup topped with cornmeal like the tamale pie. The corn meal did not cook on top of the boiling vegetables. It turned into a gooy dough. I scooped off what I could and stirred the rest into the soup. It thickened the broth and tasted good. Wouldn't you know when guests arrive something doesn't work. Thank goodness they provided broccoli pasta salad, broccoli green salad, 2 jello fruit salads, (My children were delighted.) brownies, cookies, the paper plates and bowls and cake. (My disposable ware could be restocked.) The evening was enjoyable and refreshing. I am glad I don't have to serve vegetable soup four more times.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Day 61 Palm Sunday

Our Holiest Days are celebrated with feasts. Our most solemn covenants are remembered with fasting. God uses food to help us us remember our need for constant nourishment from Him.

Breakfast: Cracked Whole wheat with dried milk, fruit, and walnuts
Lunch: Leftover cereal
snack: Peanut Butter cookies
Dinner: Garlic Penne Pasta, grilled Chicken, Green beans, sprouts with Ranch Dressing.

Banan Cream Pie - Eat "by the stroke of twelve" or the frozen bananas turn brown.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Day 60 Making Neufchatel Cheese

We finished 25 pounds of dried milk, 50 pounds of wheat and 25 pounds of all purpose flour in the last month. That did not include making cream cheeses, hard cheeses nor mixing milk as often as we could have. This last month I am curious to see how much faster we use the dried milk if we make cheese. This first batch of Neufchatel was not as difficult as I thought. I have had the rennet in my cupboard for probably a half a decade waiting for the "may be someday." Thank goodness for this blog or I might die waiting to learn how to do these things. Thank goodness my mother made cheese when the milk cow was giving gallons of extra milk . I'm a little familiar with the process.

The directions for making cheeses and ice cream comes in the box of rennet tablets. Generally the process requires bringing the milk to between 65 to 220 degrees Fahrenheit depending of the type of cheese, adding a culture of buttermilk or yogurt, add 1/4 to 1/2 tablet of rennet again depending on the hardness of cheese desired, letting the culture set for 12 hours, cut the curd then drain the whey, add salt, and press the cheese. After making this cream cheese, I am not nearly as intimidated. This can be done regularly. (Hopefully the cheddar cheese will go smoothly too.)

Breakfast: Leftover rice and taco meat from the Mexican buffet
Snack: Annie's popcorn (corn syrup, sugar and butter heated and poured over popcorn and miniature marshmallows)
Lunch: Leftovers. The refrigerator is full of one to two servings of rice, black beans, Mexican rice, and bread and butter. Time to eat what e have.

Dinner: I lost part of my security today. I discovered that 2 of the 3 remaining celery stalks are rotten. Two and a half pounds of carrots are moldy. So for dinner we made a huge vegetable stew with carrots, potatoes, celery, onions, and beef bullion. The children added canned roast beef to the soup as they liked. Dessert was a gift of cookies from friends.

Day 59 Attention Deficit

Breakfast: Homemade whole grain cold cereal. Commercially made cold cereal is a treat at our house. We put it in stockings for Christmas and wrap it for birthday presents. On the ranch in Wyoming we quickly learned that if we ate cold cereal at 7:00 am., we would be hungry by 8:30 with a knawing hollow craving. If we ate a bowl of hot whole wheat mush, we would comfortably make it until lunch time and then our hunger was a "clean hunger" that communicated "time to eat" not "I'm going to die of starvation." The Wyoming girl in me cannot serve a cereal that will leave the children hungry if they don't have 4-6 large bowls. Then it is the milk which satisfies not the cereal.

The dietitian in me cannot serve a meal that is destructive socially, emotionally, mentally and physically. A child that cannot focus is handicapped in all these areas. The glycemic load for corn flakes is 100 on a scale from 1-100. The higher the number the faster the food is converted into glucose (sugar) and released in the blood stream.

Mothers know how a child acts depends on what he eats, but I have read and heard pediatricians say, "sugar does not cause hyperactivity." Maybe it does not in a double blind study, but they have not managed a living room. I have never seen my children get calm and placidly sit on a sofa an hour and a half before dinner. (If they do, I would be checking for sickness.) They usually start with louder voices, leading to taunts and teases, then to chasing, followed by someone being injured or feelings hurt. Somewhere along the way the pantry and the refrigerator are opened and I have to give a snack or shoo them out of the kitchen. The activity level of our whole house ratchets up 50% before dinner. A wise mother knows not to try and reason, nor discipline a tired, hungry child. On the SAD (Standard American Diet - nice acronym isn't it. I don't take credit for it) children are tired and hungry all day. There is attention deficit. Now I am not saying that there is no such thing as a Disorder, I am saying that too many children are medicated by parents who fail to feed children wholesome foods that stay in the gut and cause a long slow release of blood sugar. (These foods are high in fiber and complex carbohydrate in other words whole grains and legumes - wheat and beans.) On this note, my son came home the other day and reported that one of his friends had lamented that he was hungry even after eating dinner. He said, "I ate dinner but nothing that would last longer than thirty minutes." I smiled, our children are no dummies.

Lunch: Black bean and barley soup with rice. The six year old ate a little then whined for cookies. After being denied for about 20 minutes she served herself another cup of beans on rice and ate it.

Dinner: A fundraiser at the church that served a Mexican buffet. As my six year old built her burrito, she exclaim, "Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes!" If nothing else, our family is gaining a little appreciation and gratitude.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Day 58 Time, Time, Time

Managing time is a challenge. I need to 1) decide what is for breakfast the night before and preferably have it in the crock pot or ready to put in the oven. 2) decide what's for lunch as we clean up breakfast 3) Fix the salad for dinner by lunch time, decide what we are eating and pull the meat to thaw, put it in the crock pot, etc. It helps to have a list on the fridge of the five or six dinners, posssible sides and desserts I would like to serve for the week. I don't have to follow an exact menu and each day can unfold with bumps and the unexpected but if I have thought ahead, the stress of "what do we eat?" is addressed only once a week instead fo five or six times a day. I need to establish a routine to water the sprouts every morning, mix the yogurt with breakfast clean up and the milk with dinner clean up so it can get cold overnight. It helps to decide in advance when to grind the wheat once a week to minimize the mess. Children need to be assigned these tasks as chores. With all these strategies employed cooking from scratch will be easier.

Breakfast: Venison patties, toast, and canned peaches. The freezer is full of venison from a large doe that my husband dropped at 400 yards last fall. Nebraska venison is corn fed and absolutely delicious - especially the chops. The meat is extremely lean and often mixed with pork or beef for more fat. Everything in our freezer could be bottled within one or two days if we had a power outage or the freezer quit. There are no corn dogs, french fries, fish sticks, tater tots, Marie Calenders pies, or frozen pizzas. All these prepared foods are expensive on a per serving basis compared to the exact same thing prepared at home. If the freezer stopped, preserving all prepared foods before spoiling would require some fast thinking.

Lunch to go: peanut butter and honey sandwiches/ ham and cheese and tuna in another lunch, celery sticks, and granola bars
Lunch to stay: chicken pockets from the freezer dated 2/23/10. Wonderful.
Dinner: Beef it pie filled with the leftover minestrone soup made from all dehydrated veggies. It was much more palatable with the pie crust. The children ate well.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Day 57 Honey Bunches of Oats and Shepherds Spaghetti

After two months of going without cold cereal, we are ready to try a first: making our own Honey Bunches of Oats. We started with a granola base, added almonds and homemade flaked cereal. I tried three different kinds: wheat, rice and corn. All tasted good and baked crisp but the dough is soft enough that it must be patted thin (1/16 of an inch) by hand so it takes time. We added dried apples or raisins or coconut according to taste. The recipe and cost:

$.48 4 cups flour
(or 2 cups wheat flour and 2 cups bran)
$.35 1/2 cup nonfat dried milk
$.01 1 tsp salt
$.02 1/4 cup oil
$.02 1 TBS sugar or molasses or honey
1 cup water

$.88 TOTAL
(yeilds 24 ounces)

Breakfast: Potato hash with sausage and venison, dehydrated potatoes, cheese, and cream of chicken soup. Apple crisp.
Lunch: Peanut butter and honey or tuna sandwiches on fresh rolls

Dinner: A special from the Duggars - Barbecued Tuna on a bun (This is tuna heated with barbecue sauce. I never would have made that marriage but it tasted fine! The BBQ masks any fishy flavor and it looks like BBQ pork.) I am reminded of a dish my father served to us once when he was home being "Mr. Mom" for a few days. He put tomato soup and pepperoni together and served it on spaghetti noodles. We were nearly gaging at the concoction when Dad told us it was "Sheep herders Spaghetti." Several years later, I put the story together. Dad herded sheep when he was a young man. Often there was nothing for him to eat. When the cupboard was bare, using a can of tomato soup and anything else he had to dress up spaghetti noodle was far better than starving. He was grateful for anything to eat - even if it tasted a little unusual. Today, a person who would rather get a hamburger than try a concoction never heard of, and pay for it on a line of credit deserve shame on him/her. Living honestly means that sometimes we look awkward in public.
Sides: carrot sticks, fresh steamed winter squash, and canned corn. A chocolate sheet cake.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Day 56 No more Baby formula and "Mom, I love you"

We ran out of baby formula last night. My husband went to Sams tonight and purchased 6 more pounds. I miss judged - probably because I have never used formula before no idea how much milk nine month old babies drink. So to fill in over night I mixed up the recipe my Mom used to successfully raise eight babies to a healthy adulthood with no allergies. (This recipe also saved one of my cousins that was eight months old and below her birth weight. She was being fed a formula that later was found to be deficient in just one little amino acid. The canned milk is a complete protein and haulted the failure to thrive. Sometimes, men's best intentions just don't get it right.) The recipe is 1/2 whole canned milk and 1/2 water with Karo syrup to sweeten (1 tsp per 4 ounces milk.) My baby slept longer than she has since birth only waking once at 1:30!! My husband thinks this should be repeated tonight, me too. Cows milk is not good for babies until after a year but I think that the canned milk has been denatured in the processing and is safe to use. Baby food never comes from a jar at our house. We grind just what we are eating in the hand baby food grinder and they are happy.

Breakfast: Oatmeal with cracked wheat walnuts, and tropical fruit
Lunch: leftover egg noodles heated with Velveeta cheese and tuna,
Dinner: Cassoulet. I could serve this every week. This is a great dish for weight control, diabetes, boosting iron levels, gluten intolerance, irritable bowel and it would be heart healthy if you left out or cut in half the sausage. The two or three recipes I've looked at have different ingredients. Some have beef, others pork, and chicken. All of them have white beans. Tonight I browned 8 oz pork sausage, then took the little sausage balls out of the pan and cooked chicken breast cut in strips in the pork drippings. As the chicken finished cooking, I added 1 quart thawed white beans, 2 cups diced tomatoes, 1 cup carrot slices, 1 cup chopped celery, 1 cup onions (I inadvertently left this out this time), 1 tsp minced garlic, and 1 tsp salt. The recipe said to put it in a casserole dish and bake it, but tonight we served it from the pot. My mother always said, "The best ingredient to any meal is hunger." I guess that is true because my 12 year old son came and lifted the lid. Drinking in the savory aroma he whispered,"Oh, Mom, I love you."

Dessert: Apple crisp in the crock pot made with dehydrated apples. Delicious.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Day 55 Deeply Disappointed

The vote on Health Care deeply disappoints me. Some of my most economical meals such as beans and rice cost less that 10 cents a plate (1/2 cup beans, and 1 cup rice with spices). Spruce up the meal with meat and cheese and I can still feed my family for 30 cents a plate. When the government taxes me, my freedom to care for my "natural right to life" is impeded. As Paul Ryan explains "Under the terms of our Constitution, every individual has a right to care for their health, just as they have a right to eat. These rights are integral to our natural right to life--and it is government's chief purpose to secure our natural rights. But the right to care for one's health does not imply that government must provide health care any more than our right to eat, in order to live, requires government to own the farms and raise the crops." That my own right to life has been jeopardized is not my chief disappointment though. The taxes the government takes, will feed less than 1 person to the 15 that I could feed with the same money. The waste is a great sadness. My daily sacrifices to stay home, manage our finances, protect my childrens' health, so that we have more to share seems to be flaunted for naught - of little value in our excessive society.

Breakfast: Oatmeal muffins - to try and use our leftover oatmeal from yesterday. Heavy, good but I will have to work with the recipe before I share it. The children made an attempt at doughnuts. This too was a little heavy but dipped in powdered sugar, the children devoured them.

Lunch: Spaghetti with Homemade sauce on wheat and white noodles
Recipe: 8 cups tomatoes (can be bottled from garden, crushed, or diced,)
1-3 TBS brown sugar
1-2 TBS basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic
1-2 TBS dried onion
Bring to boil then add 3 TBS flour or cornstarch mixed with 1/2 cup water.
Return to boil. Add olives, hamburger, green peppers, sausage or chicken al gusto.

Dinner: Beef Stroganoff - I cut up one of the 2 remaining Chuck roasts, browned the meat with a large onion cut in wedges and used 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup, 1/2 cup of leftover spaghetti sauce and 1/2 cup of yogurt. Cabbage, nut and raisin salad were served as a side. My husband came home and said, "Boy, it smells good." I love being a wife.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Day 54 Tithing

My father and mother were students living in a fourplex which they rented to others as a source of income. The first year of their marriage, they were scraping by trying to secure money for food and still pay tuition. My mother logically thought there was only money enough for tuition and would wait to pay tithing. My father, illogically, felt that they would pay the tithing first and then have faith that they could pay the next semester's tuition. My mother obeyed and paid the tithing. Later that week one of the renters came and asked if he could pay four months worth of rent in one payment. With that lump sum, my parents were able to pay the tuition and my Dad continued his education. This faith was the foundation with which that my parents met many a financial challenge throughout their lives. I will be forever grateful and hope that we can pass that foundation of faith on to our children. The Sabbath is a great day to evaluate priorities and realign in accordance with the hunches in our hearts.

Breakfast: I love to set a Breakfast Buffet every once in a while. Today we offered oatmeal with dried milk, sliced oranges and grapefruit, waffles with strawberry preserves and fruit drink. The children wake to soft music and choices to eat. The waffles were made totally egg free by substituting 1 package of Knox gelatin and 3 TBS of flax meal. Recipe:

Eggless Waffles
1 -1/2 cup warm water
1 package Knox gelatin
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup dried milk
1 TBS sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil
3 TBS flax meal

Mix all together. Fry in hot, well oiled waffle iron. Pour about 2/3 cup batter per waffle.

Lunch: Leftovers
Snack: cream cheese mints courtesy of my 12 year old son
popcorn balls courtesy my husband
Dinner: Minestrone soup served in bread bowls. (Quick recipe of bread formed into rolls then hollowed to make a bowl)

Day 53 Lets Rethink

Why would my family want to go three months without going to the grocery store? In January when we embarked on this venture, I had some ideas of the benefits/risks but after 7-1/2 weeks a few things are concrete. This is not easy cooking from scratch every meal for 2700 meals (less the leftover meals). Some days when the question looms the largest, I conclude it is because I really do care about my neighbors, my children and any readers who may read something on this little amateur blog. If anyone can become even a little more self reliant, it is worth the effort. I have gained experience that will change our lives. My children have gained a greater measure of confidence and feeling of safety. If we couldn't go to the store because of lack of income, or a pandemic, or a natural disaster, or chaos in the streets, our family would be okay. We would survive in style. We are all more grateful for the every day blessings: we enjoy of fresh milk, bananas, and pears. We are also more confident in other people's ability to care for themselves. No need for entitlements from governments; we will govern ourselves. I have examined every angle of this challenge to have enough food in our homes to live for at least three months. Finances, nutrition, family interactions, marriage stability, community poverty, community health, even world poverty is improved if each home is strengthened by applying strategies to be self reliant. I want every family in America, the world to feel this freedom of self worth and not to worry about from where the next meal is coming. That is why we will continue the challenge - 37 days to go.

Breakfast: Leftover Cheese Pizza, oatmeal
Snack: Peanut Butter and honey sandwiches
Lunch: Minnestrone Soup with dehydrated carrots, potatoes and onions, black beans (from the freezer)
Dinner: Macaroni and Cheese, hot chocolate, Fruit juice drink and lemon bars made with Knox gelatin.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Day 52 Sprout Salad

Sunflower seed sprouts were new to me when I went to the store to buy the alfalfa seed, but tonight we had salad that came off our shelves. Sunflower seed Sprouts have to grown in 1 inch of dirt for 7-10 days. Start by soaking the seeds, then spread them over the dirt and cover them with 8 layers of damp newspapers, place in a plastic sack, and set in a dark cupboard for 3 days. Transfer to a sunny windowsill for the next 7 days or until you cut the stems and green leaves for eating. I kept the plastic sack on to act like a little green house.

Breakfast: Cinnamon Toast, frozen pancakes layered with meat and cheese
Lunch: Chicken Salad Sandwiches and Peanut Butter and honey Sandwiches
Dinner: Homemade Cheese Pizza and Sprout salad with alfalfa sprouts and sunflower seeds

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day 51 A Great Day for Fast Food

It was 5:20pm, we had to be in the car at 5:45 and I had no supper ready! It would have been a night to stop for burgers on the way to the evening event. Luckily, I remembered the chicken Penne Pasta that I had frozen. It heated well in the microwave and everyone got some supper.

Convenience can be built into cooking from scratch in several ways. I've tried once a month cooking where a full 30 meals are cooked all at once and frozen. This works great for smaller families. I like a modified approach where most of the meat, the pizza crusts, cookie dough, and other ingredients are frozen ready to assemble into numerous dishes. This doesn't take as much space as freezing 30 casseroles/soups that feed 10 to 15 people. Convenience can also be built in as we have done the last three weeks. I have made larger batches and instead of serving leftovers, we have frozen another meal. All this week something has come from the freezer for at least one meal of the day.

Some of my freezer staples is a white sauce mix, pancakes in a bottle, crumb topping for cobblers, and a teriyaki sauce in the refrigerator. After tonight I would like to cook five pounds of Dill Penne Pasta and chicken and have several meals frozen in gallon sacks for our family. Having a "cooking day" with the whole family can be memorable and fun.

Lunch: Leftover Soup - both with potatoes added and bread
Dinner: Dill Chicken Penne Pasta from the freezer
Snack: Fresh Whole wheat Bread.

My daughter made brownies to take to school for a treat.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day 50 Nutritional Requirements

As supplies are depleted I worry more about getting all the nutrients we need to stay healthy. When I worked for WIC, we looked for the macronutrients of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, Protein, and Iron. If there was one significant source of these vitamins in a two day diet history then we felt the diet was sufficient. Many people express the concern that they can't eat healthy because they can't afford the expensive foods advocated at the time in the media. Media fads vary from salmon to blueberries. These foods are not necessary to keep one healthy. A poor man can eat very well. I buy and store foods that will meet a nutritional requirement. All other "fluff" foods just add variety. Fluff foods include canned corn, green beans, pears, and fruit cocktail. The 2% Vitamin A or C is not enough to justify these as mainstays in our menu. Foods in this category are certainly better than potato chips, crackers, pop and candy with zero nutritional value but their consumption is minimal. Foods in the "potato chips" category are eliminated except for 2-3 times a year at BBQ's or parties. The total for all the fresh produce that I bought in January to last us three months (hopefully) came to $4.50 per person per month. Healthy eating is not expensive. This should provide us with Vitamin C and Vitamin A. The minimum requirement for protein is a little more that 50 gms/day. This is easily met with 6 servings of whole wheat bread (18 gms), three servings of dairy (24 gms) and 2-3 ounces of meat or 1 cup of beans to make up the next 8-20 gms. On the whole American's eat too much protein, making diets too acidic and high in fat causing a multitude of secondary health issues.

Good sources of Vitamin A: carrots, cabbage, broccoli. The Dried carrots are extremely high in Vitamin A. When the fresh produce is gone, we'll have to figure a way to eat carrot muffins without eggs or carrot soup!
Good sources of Vitamin C: tomatoes, green peppers, citrus, fruit drink (100% per cup), cabbage, broccoli, sprouts have about 8% in a cup so they are nutrient dense considering they are only 20 calories/cup
Iron/Protein: Hamburger or ground venison, beans, raisins (good iron not protein), nuts, oysters (60% Iron in a can)
Calcium: milk, yogurt, cheese, pudding, cinnamon (77 mg per TBS - which believe it or not my children probably eat in a day when they make their own cinnamon toast. They blacken the toast with cinnamon. I'll have to measure next time.)

We went to the store again for Root beer for church activity and the Achilles heal: my husband's deodorant. I should have planned better.

Breakfast: Cheesy potatoes from the freezer and rice Krispies with dried milk.
Lunch: Macaroni, hamburger, and tomatoes (the "from scratch" version of hamburger helper) The children snacked on oyster soup and vanilla pudding.
Dinner: Corned beef, seamed cabbage, and creamed potatoes and peas. Dessert - Chocolate Crackle cookies

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Day 49 Bottled Cheese

As cheese is a fundamental part of our diet, I tried bottling cheddar cheese. The process is to grate block cheese, fill a clean jar, melt it in the oven and then the jar seals as the cheese cools. Shelf stable cheese can be purchased but if I can make my own shelf stable cheese, I can take advantage of seasonal sales. Another method is to buy cheese wax and seal hard cheeses the way they have been preserved for centuries. My Storage room is between 50-70 degrees and should be perfect. I love "governing myself." Hopefully you can make a descision for yourself with this information.

Article by Kellene Bishop

Breakfast: Potatoes and onions in the crock pot over night. Served with ketchup and bread and butter. We opened the one jar of the bottled butter. It is grainy as a spread but fresh and tasty.
Lunch: Tuna sandwiches with pickles on rolls, leftover macaroni salad
Sack lunches to school and work: cheese sandwiches on buns, carrot muffin, carrot and celery sticks, granola bar
Dinner: We served taco meat on buns with carrot/raisin/walnut salad.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Day 48 Wish List

We are down to the last 3 pounds of formula. It is not enough unless the baby starts eating more solids and or I take more fenugreek to help boost my milk production to help stretch the formula we have. I can also use a little of our canned milk and Karo Syrup. We used the last of the lettuce today and only have 2 dozen eggs left for the next 6 weeks. The children are planning a "thanksgiving feast" of watermelon, pears, apples, cantaloupe, bananas, strawberries, milk, milk, milk, and ice cream. They fantasize of going to our favorite restaurants. I wish I had more chocolate chips, more rock salt for the ice cream maker, an indoor hanging tomato plant, cornstarch, and the list gets longer.

Breakfast: Rice pudding made last evening to put in the oven this morning, fruit drink
Lunch: Potato Soup from the freezer from a couple of weeks ago. I put in the fridge to thaw last night and it was still frozen at noon. Lunch was an hour late. The potatoes were a little soft but the soup was thickened with mashed potato flakes so the overall presentation of the soup was good.
Snack Granola bars and fresh rolls
Dinner: Hamburgers on fresh buns with the last of the iceburg lettuce, sauteed onions, mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard. As a side we served a macaroni salad with carrots, fresh frozen peas, and olives. Fruit drink.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Day 47 After the trial

It is another sabbath in which to rejoice but I just feel like crying. Another meal, another day,will it never end. (That sentiment has little to do with living off our shelves, it is just the every day grind.) Questions curse threw my mind "Why did God make it so we eat three times a day? Why do the scriptures say we should pray three times a day like Daniel in the old testament? Why did the manna have to be gathered every day?" As I ponder on these questions I think it is because God want to bless us and express his love and care for us often. He wants to say "Crystal, I love you" three times a day. Everytime we gather food and prepare it, we are reminded of the creator of the universe who created food as diverse as onions and bananas. I pray for a miracle as I participate in the creation of a meal. Why didn't God make trees that grow fish sticks? As we create we find joy and we also come to appreciate His hand in providing food that will nourish us. It becomes our privilege to fix another meal.

Breakfast: Potato hash - diced potatoes with onions served with ketchup
Lunch: Stew from last night with diced potatoes added to the broth. If I am organized enough I like to prepare soup a day or two before Sunday to have a quick meal ready for Sunday. Fresh fry bread as a side.
Dinner: Cheesy Rice with chicken and broccoli. I used one chicken breast diced and fried.
Snack: Snickerdoodle cookies

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Day 46 Dried Beans vs Canned and Tired, Tired, Tired

Deciding to buy dried beans or canned beans is an issue of space and expense. Dried beans will a little more than double their volume when cooked. So storage is about one third the space for the same nutrition. Expense is about 60 cents a pound for dried beans (6 cups cooked or 12 servings). Canned beans cost about 60 cents for less than three servings in a can. So the decision is between dried at 5 cents a serving and canned at 20 cents a serving. The convenience of canned beans is retained when a large quantity is cooked and then frozen plain in serving portions. I have loved having red, black and white beans all in the freezer these last 6 weeks. The freezer is almost as full as it was at the beginning of our 90 day journey because I have used meat but added beans. The beans came in handy for dinner tonight.

Breakfast: Ham, orange slices, leftover pancakes, fruit drink
Lunch: Macaroni and cheese (1 pound box of noodles cooked an drained, 1/3 pound of Velveeta cheese, 14 cup margarine with 1/2 tsp salt)
Snack: Snickerdoodle cookies and granola bars from the freezer
Dinner: We came in at 4:50 pm after running errands. I put water on to boil, added beef bullion, 3 cans of beef stew meat, 3 cups of diced tomatoes, and 1 quart on frozen black beans. While waiting for the soup to come to a boil, I made flat bread with garlic added. (Recipe in Recipes post) Within 25 minutes, dinner was ready from start to finish. The family found the soup simple, savory and "good."

Friday, March 12, 2010

Day 45 Fighting Poverty

People who are self reliant have faith that others can be self reliant as well. The poorest sections of our nation are filled with people who have not been self reliant for generations. Their dependence on others (either the government or well meaning charities) for shelter and food is ingrained because they have been denied the privilege of working in exchange for benefits. In our community children are sent home with a small backpack full of nutritious snacks that are child friendly. This is a free gift in an effort to protect the innocent children who are victims. The mothers of these children do not cook, they are not often home, they are often involved in drug use. Unwittingly these families are being destroyed. The father has been subsidised out of the home by welfare and now the mother is subsidised out of the home as well by free breakfasts provided by the government and snack packs provided by the community. As the family is destroyed, so is the incentive for education. Parents carry no hope for a brighter future for their children. Ignorance and illiteracy has garnered food and shelter for them and it is the only way they know - do nothing so that others will care for the children. There is no hope.

On the other end, the affluent who do not cook at home know no other way to survive but by expending hundreds of dollars on ready prepared, fast food, and restaurant fare. They too have no hope that someone can be self reliant if they don't have an above average income. These people vote for entitlement programs because they do not know any other way to help but give money.

This cycle needs to stop. We need to give each other skills. We can cook from scratch and if we give food to those who are hungry it should be food that they must work for and prepare. We must love each other enough to insist that our roles as mothers and fathers are protected. We need to expect the highest of each individual. The hunger for knowledge would grow as self respect is engendered. Education would take a high priority. There would soon be no poor among us.

Breakfast: Pancakes with 2 of the 6 eggs that the recipe asked. Dried milk and orange juice drink, and canned tropical fruit

Lunch: Fried chicken, instant mashed potatoes, green beans with cheese
Snack: Carrot sticks

Dinner: Pork lo mein (This can easily be vegetarian - leave out the meat and keep the delicious noodles, vegetables and spices) Recipe will be in the Jan post. I was tickled to find fresh green onions out in the garden! These onions are prolific and reseed themselves every year. This year I will actually use them. Every one loved the meal and ate it all! I was hoping for leftovers.

The 12 year old made banana cream pie for dessert. He started with vanilla pudding and added 2 tsp banana flavoring. (I stocked up on flavorings in January - they can add a lot of versatility to the menu.) He baked a pie shell and filled it with the pudding and then took a frozen banana and sliced it on top. We ate the pie quickly before the banana slices turned brown. We are getting a little desperate. But the 12 year old said, "I like this, not the food storage, but it forces you do try new things." He was victorious.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Day 44 The Nitty Gritty

We got desperate enough to drink dried milk with our peanut butter sandwiches at noon today. I drank three glasses. It tasted great. The children tepidly finished four ounces each.

Breakfast: An attempt at a frittata - with no eggs and baked instead of fried. I browned 1/2 cup onion, added 1 cup chopped ham, 3 cups leftover cooked spaghetti, and about 1 cup of mayonnaise with 1/2 cup of Velveeta cheese, 1/2 cup flour to thicken and bind, salt and lemon pepper. I mixed this as well as I could and put in in the oven on a casserole dish. After 20 minutes my son was ready for breakfast so we pulled it from the oven. The flour and mayonnaise were not thick enough to set a "wedge" like a pie when we cut it - but it tasted great and the children liked it.

Dinner: 5:20 nothing started, the children crying and running, husband on his way home.... I threw some onions on the stove to brown. (Mom told me that the smell of good food will satisfy a hungry man for a couple of hours.) Before I could break away from helping another child with homework the onions burned - black. I quickly chopped more and started assembling a Tamale Pie: 1 cup onion, 1 cup chopped green pepper*, 1 can corn drained, 2 cups diced tomatoes, 1/3 cup ketchup instead of tomato paste, 1 TBS sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1 TBS chili powder, and 2 cups leftover chili instead of 1 pound ground beef. Mix all together over low heat. Add 1-1/2 cup Velveeta cheese instead of grated sharp cheddar. Make cornmeal by boiling 2 cups water or milk with 3/4 cup cornmeal and 1/2 tsp salt. Stir as it thickens, add 1 TBS butter and spread over the top of the tomato mixture. Bake for 40 minutes. By 7:00 dinner was served. The reviews: everyone thought it was delicious. Why haven't I made this before now? We sure seem to get stuck in our little ruts and we don't even know it. This will be another recipe to keep.

*These chopped peppers came from our garden two years ago. Banana Peppers were the only thing we harvested from our garden that year. So I chopped up all the extra peppers and put 10 small bags straight in the freezer without blanching. They freeze well, taste good, and add Vitamin C to our diet.

Frozen bananas - crepes

These frozen bananas came home after a scout camp out two weeks ago (the boys didn't look quite as bad but they were cold.) I was grateful because bananas make great substitutes for eggs in crepes. I have frozen them without the peal and as they are pictured here in the peal. This way is easier to pull just one banana, thaw it in the microwave, and use them in pancakes, cakes, crepes or any other baked dish. Pictures coming -

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Day 43 Dishwasher Soap and other household cleaners

We have finished off one box of dishwasher detergent. The children were worried we didn't have any more dishwasher soap. We do but I mixed up the homemade "Dishwasher Soap" to give it a try. I love it - there is no more soap residue on any of the dishes. The recipe: 1-1/2 cups Borax (leftover from the laundry soap) 1-1/2 cups baking soda and 1 cup table salt.

Other household cleaners that I use regularly are a window cleaner of 2 cups water, 1/ cup vinegar, and 1/8 cup alcohol. Works well. Saves money. Always renewable with supplies already on hand.

Breakfast: I felt like treating the children so we made crepes with a ricotta and yogurt filling with pineapple chunks. The crepes are - get this - egg free. The recipe idea came from a lacto ovo vegetarian cookbook. 1 cup flour, 1-1/2 cup milk, 1 frozen banana thawed, 2 tbs oil, 1/8 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt. Mix well. Pour 1/3 cup into well greased hot omelet pan. Rotate pan to get batter to thin. Fry and turn when batter is no longer glossy. Hint: eggless recipes take a little longer to cook. This has been true of the cookies with mayonnaise, the cakes, and the crepes. Add a few extra minutes (1/3 of the time originally called for - roughly. On 8-9 minute cookies we added another 3 minutes.)

Lunch: a Duggar Family Favorite, chili served over spaghetti with toppings of cheese, onions or olives ( We just added cheese.) The children liked this twist on some basics

Dinner: A Potato Platter (Idea from The Garden Cafe - now gone out of business)
with ham, chicken, green peppers and onions, topped with a mayonnaise sauce thinned with milk. Cabbage/walnut/raisin salad

Day 42 The Duggars

The Duggars - Twenty and Counting is a fascinating account of a family with 18 children to be 19 any day now. The life philosophies and parenting techniques they share are reassuring. They manage wisely by exercising faith and being willing to sacrifice to obey principles to which they feel committed. They have paid cash for cars, homes, babies, and food. They teach their children carefully values that will enable them to be happy and successful. One of which is "Contentment" - to be happy with the clothes and food you have. There are recipes in the book and also on their web site Most of the recipes are from cans to pot to table. I am anxious to try several. If we would link arm and follow suit at least in the work ethic and teaching of children (if not 19 children!), there may be hope for America.

The children are still on their own today. We will return tonight after entertaining a 9 month old for 6 hours in airplanes and 4 hours in airports today.

Breakfast: leftover venison patties, grapefruit, toast
Lunch: Rice with Chicken gravy
Dinner: Creamed Tuna over toast.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Day 41 The Way to a Man's Heart

It is said "the fastest way to a man's heart is through is stomach." Judging by the reception of the mashed potatoes and ham topped off with the black forest cake yesterday, I won't argue. My three year old son has come into the kitchen numerous times when he smells the onions cooking and he will ask what I am preparing. At my response (no matter what it is - Moroccan Soup or roast, he'll say, "Oh, that's my favorite." My teenage son loves Grandma Mary's cloud biscuits under creamed tuna. This is a simple meal but savory and satisfying. The mashed potatoes was the kindest gift I could give my husband for his birthday. He often says he would eat mashed potatoes for dessert. I must say I agree with Dr. Laura when she says a wife best supports her "knight in shining armor" as he "slays dragons" and provides a living for his family if she will cook dinner to welcome him home. It is the magic in marriage.

I am out of town with my husband for two days. The children are eating at will. They reported:
Breakfast: leftovers of ham and mashed potatoes

Lunch: Macaroni and cheese using bottled cheese whiz
Dinner: Peaches, venison patties, Peanut butter cookies
We had squash bread on the way to the airport and homemade granola bars for a snack but we did order egg McMuffin sandwiches in route and the enjoy Brazilian BBQ for dinner. I love the beans and rice at Brazilian restaurants and the meat is out of this world. The men feel well cared for tonight.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Day 40 Beyond Obedience

The story of Joseph of Egypt seems to illustrate my feelings this Sabbath morning. Being prepared with a supply of food in our homes requires the obedience of Joseph. He interpreted the King's dreams to mean there would be seven years of plenty and seven years of famine. The King felt the need to do something. He commanded Joseph to oversee the storage of corn for the seven years of plenty. Joseph was completely obedient. The famine did come. As food supplies ran low throughout the whole region, the food in Egypt would sustain people from foreign lands and regions. Storing grain had gone beyond obedience to a level of compassion to "love one's neighbor as himself." As the famine continued, Joseph would be able to save the lives of his brothers and his father. At the moment that Joseph saw an understood the hand of the Lord over the course of the previous decade or more, his heart must have broken with a deep love and gratitude to God for allowing him to be an instrument in His hand that he might save HIS family. A pure love transcended pure obedience.

In a coming day, I would like to know that my family has a seat around my table. I want to exercise faith that food will be provided for the families of the world because of our obedience, sacrifice and genuine love. These pure sentiments give reason for prudence in our lifestyle beginning at home and extending to national policies. God will grant us strength and miracles if we will yield to Him.

Breakfast: peanut butter toast for little ones, oranges
Lunch:Piecing after church until Dinner
Birthday Dinner: We celebrated my husband's birthday with real mashed potatoes, spiral sliced ham, green frozen lima beans and carrots, cornbread stuffing from the freezer (for added convenience), pear and cottage cheese salads (with homemade ricotta cheese as a substitute for the cottage cheese, the iceberg lettuce is six weeks old and still crispy after being wrapped in tin foil), and Black Forest cake assembled with eggless chocolate cake for dessert. I have been making this cake for years. It holds together well and tastes good. The day turned out a success. Recipe in the recipe page.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Day 39 Where to buy supplies?

Price determines where I make my major purchases. I few months ago while searching the Internet for places to buy wheat berries, I discovered that others shared my interest and had reached the same conclusions. I buy at our local grocery store in the "bulk" section; at ethnic stores especially Indian and Mexican for a variety of beans and spices, at Sams for flour, rice, spices, canned goods, diapers, etc... at Aldi's a discount grocery; at Home Storage Center's that are located throughout the world and are run by volunteers from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for dried milk, wheat, beans, apples and carrots. One need not be a member of that church to go buy in bulk or help "can" and purchase products into number 10 cans. Many foods stored this way have a shelf life of 30 years. Their prices are low on wheat (red and white), beans (pinto, great northern white, and black), pasta, dehydrated carrots and apple slices.

Breakfast: Potato hash with dehydrated potatoes, and 4 scrambled eggs that accidentally fell on the floor and cracked. Then for fun we hand "monkey bread" or caramel pull-a-parts. This is a rare thing in my house and everyone loved them.

Lunch: Broccoli/Bacon/pasta salad. The broccoli has held for 7 weeks! Look at the difference between the head of broccoli wrapped in tin foil and the one in the plastic wrap in the fridge.

Snack: oranges
Dinner: My Husband prepared his signature spaghetti sauce with olives, real meat, using diced tomatoes from a number 10 can as the base.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Day 38 Pioneers are Prepared and No Water

If storing food to last three month seems overwhelming with freezer space, shelf stable products galore, and refrigeration, think of packing a years supply in a covered wagon. Read this account from Ursula Haskel, "We had everything on the way to make us more comfortable than anyone could expect. Flour enough to last us a year, ham, sausages, dried fish, lard- two cans, 100 pounds of sugar, 16 of coffee, ten of raisins, rice, with all the other items we wished to use in cooking." This puts a supply of food in perspective. It is not as difficult as initially imagined.

We felt a little more rustic than comfortable this evening when a plumbing repair necessitated turning off the main water. We scrambled a minute before we remembered we would still flush toilets with the water stored in pop bottles and we could brush our teeth without having the sink running full of water. The repair was made. We have water again. Husbands are wonderful.

Breakfast: Diced rehydrated potatoes fried with deer sausage, grapefruit.

Lunch: By request the same taco filling from last night wrapped in whole wheat flat bread. The three year old ate it heartily this time and commented on his "favorite food"

Snack: Granola bars. This recipe is the best. I've tried a few in my lifetime and this one has the right texture and flavor. (See the "Recipes" in January)
Dinner: Chicken Soup with Rice - another of the 4 main variations of chicken soup with --noodles, rice, egg drop noodles, or potatoes.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Day 37 Alfalfa Sprouts

Alfalfa Sprouts are easy to grow. Place two TBS seed that is found at the Health Food Store in a jar. Cover with water and soak for eight hours. Place a scrape of nylon stocking over the lid with a rubber band. Now it is easy to drain. Let sit in a dark place for 24 hours then as the sprouts begin to emerge place the jar in a sunny place. In 3-4 days the tender young sprouts are ready to eat.

I used sprouts on the cheese sandwich in the sack lunch.

Breakfast: layered pancakes, ground venison, cheese and plumb syrup

Lunch: leftovers, toast with peanut butter, cinnamon toast

Dinner: Taco meat with black beans and rice, heated with Enchilada Sauce. Delicious! I will make this combo again. The meat and beans were in the freezer in one quart bags so this is quite fast to prepare. My son said, "This is so good we are going to have to store Enchilada Sauce." This can is a number 10 can given to us by our neighbors who work for Subway and in closing their "Mexican" line a few months ago had inventory they were throwing away. With so many children at our house, he offered the food to us. It is one of the items I am glad to use. This dish only used half the can so we'll have another dish with Enchilada Sauce soon.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Day 36 Spices in Bulk

Spices are a perfect item to buy from wholesale supply houses. In January I bought oregano, nutmeg, cloves, basil, thyme, onion powder, chili powder and cumin. These come in large containers of 7 oz to 1 pound each. The savings average 60% over grocery store prices for the smaller jars. This is a great return. I will not have to buy spices for 10 years. Near the end of that time I will add 1-1/2 times the spice if the potency starts to diminish. I can cook almost any dish from most parts of the world with the spices I have accumulated. Spices give the same ingredients an entirely new life. Rice can have a Mexican, Middle Eastern, Indian, Japanese, or a Tex Mex American flavor. Life is never boring.

Breakfast: Waffle Wednesdays with a high protein waffle made originally of cottage cheese, eggs and oat flour. I made a quick ricotta cheese by boiling water, making a strong powdered milk concentrate (2 cups per quart of water), adding 1/4 cup yogurt, 1/8 cup lemon juice. Bring this mixture to a boil, stirring to prevent burning. The milk proteins will begin to clump. Strain the curds from the whey and use as ricotta cheese. For the waffles, I put 1-1/2 cup cheese, 1-1/2 cup yogurt, 2 TBS flax meal, 2 eggs, 1 TBS oil, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 cup milk, and 2 cups six grain flour. ( I ground the six grain cereal in my wheat grinder.) Fry in a well oiled waffle iron.

Lunch: leftovers including cream cheese cake from our "Romantic night out" last evening
Dinner: Traditional Roast, mashed potatoes, buttered carrots, green salad

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Day 35 Debt Free

Being debt free is essential if one wants to govern himself. Living a provident lifestyle, including preparing meals at home from food on the shelves is an integral part of achieving that goal. Somehow when a goal is defined in terms of food choices, and our opportunity cost is measured against a 35 cent loaf of bread, our choices change. One success story worth emulating is of the Hildebrandt family who eliminated over $106,000 of debt in five years. After reading this I wonder why any of us carry even a mortgage.
Full article here:

Our family has been debt free for a number of years. We used a strategy similar to Dave Ramsey's, a well known financial advisor, whose principles include
1) Pay a tithe of 10%
2) Save $1000 in emergency fund
3) Eliminate debt using a pay off schedule
4) Save enough to cover 6 months of expenses

Cooking from home saves money in several ways including:
1) Buying on Sale
2) Buying in bulk at a fraction of the cost of smaller retail sizes
3) Buying fresh foods in season and preserving them for the rest of the year
4) Using the cheapest forms of food - in its raw state. For example a 25 pound sack of grain has been handled once between grower and market. A frozen pizza crust has been handled many times. Each time a new manufacturing process or packaging occurs, labor costs increase the expense the product. I save all the labor and packaging costs by doing it myself.
5) Decreasing health care costs because this is the healthiest way to eat - whole grains, legumes, raw nuts and seeds, bottled over canned, frozen from the garden is more nutrient dense than frozen in the store. You are also in control of the sugar and fat in your home cooking.
6) Healthier family interactions and emotional health due to a more secure marriage in part because of decreased financial stress, increased time together at meals and increased interdependence. Everyone in the family helps in the kitchen. This avoids costs like an Anasazi camp or marriage counseling.

Breakfast: Holiday Breakfast casserole. This is a "French toast" casserole with apples and raisins layered on the bottom of bread slices with a custard sauce poured over the top. I used dehydrated apples, decreased the eggs to 2/6 and used a white sauce of dried milk and flour to pour over the layered bread. Wonderful. This is a do ahead 4-24 hours so I made it the night before and put it in the oven a hour before we wanted to eat. I will definitely cook this on a regular basis.

Lunch: Moroccan Winter Squash Soup. (Recipe in the "Recipe" blog in Jan) The spices in this soup including cinnamon and cloves were delicious even though unusual in a soup. The children did not really appreciate the squash but they liked the garbanzo beans. I think this is a keeper.

Snack: Brownie Pudding cake again (like the 12 year old said - I can make as much of it as I want! No eggs!)
Dinner: Spaghetti with sauce from a can that the children prepared. I went on a "Romantic Get Away" for the evening to welcome my husband home after 14 days in India on business.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Day 34 Cooking Basics and Logistics

For cooks who want to feel more confident in the kitchen, cooking by ratios is a good way to start. Very few recipes have to be measured precisely to be a good recipe. Giving recipes for our family of ten is not very useful for one or two person homes. Quantities in recipes can be cut in half or multiplied with good results most of the time. (Once we were making No Bake Oatmeal cookies and we doubled the recipe. Then we boiled the ingredients as instructed for the same amount of time as in the original recipe. The cookies never would set. We should have increased the time we boiled the sugar a little since we doubled the sugar.) Live and learn but Live.

We hit gold yesterday when my 12 year old son was reading recipes. He said, "I sure like recipes that call for the basic storage items. You can make as much as you want as many times as you want." He found a Chocolate Pudding Cake. It called for no eggs. It tasted like a chocolate heaven and a big success on Sunday afternoon.

Basic rules of thumb:
Macaroni will double in volume (Cook in 2 times the water as noodles)
Regular White rice will triple in volume (Cook in 2 times the water as noodles)
Wheat will double in volume (Boil in 2 times the water as wheat)
Oatmeal will double in volume (boil in 2 times the water for 1 minute to 90 seconds for 1-1/2 cup put lid on and let stand)

Logistics - I bought disposable diapers to instead of using cloth. Hopefully we can make it through the 90 days with the 3 cases from Sams. It was a $100 outlay but it is a good price for a decent diaper. For longer term I would sew some rubber pants to go with my cloth diapers on hand. We started with 6 cases of toilet paper (one case unpacked under the sink in each bathroom plus two cases in the storage room.) Each case is 45 rolls of 450 double ply sheets. I don't price compare. I just buy the case for about 18.00. The children say if we run out of toilet paper, we are going shopping. They are not enamoured with the newspaper option.

Thus far I'm glad I have Knox gelatin, flavorings like vanilla, peppermint, etc... the asiago cheese in the freezer, the barely on the shelf, a large variety of items if not a large quantity, Lots of the basics - wheat, dried milk, flour, sugar, salt, beans, dried apples, fruit drink mix, fresh celery (This extra little crunch adds a fresh touch to every recipe. Even if we were unemployed I may pay the $6.80 it would take to get a three months supply of fresh celery - a lot of bang for the buck.)

Breakfast yesterday: Six Grain cereal (Rolled Red wheat, Rolled White wheat, Oats, Barley, Rye, and Sunflower seeds)
Lunch on Sunday: Leftovers
Dinner on Sunday: Calico Chile with one quart each of white beans, red beans, black beans cooked from dry and put in the freezer, hamburger, diced tomatoes, spices

Breakfast today: Fried six grain served with savory spices or with maple syrup like a pancake. This is a variation of "Corn Pone" or cornmeal fried in bacon drippings with jalapeno peppers. The children liked it. Some even liked it better than suggesting that they eat hot cereal with dried milk. Boil the cereal. Let it cool then slice it 1/2-3/4 inch thick and fry.

Lunch: Fresh Hot Bread and butter, frozen vanilla yogurt
Dinner: BBQ Pork from the freezer ( I cook the large pork loin then divide in into meal sizes and refreeze and then heat thoroughly and add more BBQ sauce when serving.), Cheesy Corn casserole which is a new recipe for us. I burned it but the children ate it anyway and liked the taste. It is simply 2 cans of corn baked in cornmeal muffin mix with 1cup yogurt for the sour cream, 2 eggs, 2 TBS sugar. Canned fruit for another side.