Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Day after - Christmas Breakfast

I had to chuckle. The children were delighted and happy with only two gallons of milk, a box of Rice Crispies and homemade cold cereal. The older children relished scrambled eggs and looked forward to having butter. I am actually dreading the grocery shopping. It has been a relief to stay home and concentrate on other household matters.

To answer a couple of questions - I buy ginger paste at the Indian market. There are now 5 Indian groceries in Omaha. All have great prices on spices, wheat, and different kinds of beans that I enjoy.

There is a recipe for cream cheese in the Junket box. I have had trouble with the cheese projects. There is another thing I will need to practice in the next three month's challenge. Basically a gallon of milk is heated to 65 degrees, inoculated with a buttermilk or yogurt culture, and rennet is added (1/4 tablet for soft cheeses and 1/2 or more for hard cheeses). It takes 8-12 hours for the curd to set then another 12-24 hours to drain and press the cheese. I look forward to learning how to make paneer (Indian cheese) from my neighbors. Tasty.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Day 90 The Finish Line!!

We made it! We almost had a mutiny one hour before dinner as the children debated going to the store to get milk, but they are tucked in their beds with promises of a"Christmas morning" with real milk, store bought little yogurts, star fruit, grapes, and milk. To many of the children, they have finished a marathon. Milk and butter are first on the wish list.

I must admit I am sad. It has been a long three months of cooking every day for the public eye. I care deeply for the values and people of this great Country. The sacrifice has engendered a love for all who may read and in any way benefit from these humble efforts.

Breakfast: Breakfast steaks, hash browns with green pepper and green onion, toast with peanut butter, chocolate milk, and fresh grapefruit

Lunch: Okonomiyaki (cabbage pancake) usually made with an egg or two. I substituted baking powder. Yummy. Macaroni and cheese for some

Dinner: Real mashed potatoes made with Act II (Boy! It will be nice to have real butter!) and hamburger gravy, green beans and fresh steamed cabbage stored since Jan 22 in tin foil. It tasted good. Dessert - brownies and fresh frozen raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries.

We will take a couple of weeks to regroup. Then I will address the most common objection I heard to this proposition "I can't afford to live off my shelves, we would use all the food we have stored." In a new 90 day challenge through May , June and July, our family will attempt to live off $50 per person per month, buy a wheat grinder, and a mixer in that food budget and
establish a sizable amount of food on the shelf. We will begin from scratch - as if we had nothing on our shelves. Week by week we will plan a menu, purchase with cash to the plan, and save to make big purchases. We will buy in bulk and "invest" in quantities of the basics that will allow us to save money and time. One cannot afford to not live off his shelves.

I have never had to do this. My husband has been gainfully employed all our married life. My mother made sure we had a grain mill when we got married. This challenge is huge for me. Only because I care deeply for the readers of this blog do I even consider 90 days more of tight frugal living. The positive side is each week we will enjoy the luxury of fresh produce and fresh milk, and after the challenge we've just met, it seems quite feasible.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Day 89 Sabbath of Joy

Over the past 12 Sabbath posts my heart has soared with Andre Boccelli, "Give us this day our Daily Bread," given thanks for the manna, covenanted to keep the Sabbath Day Holy, exercised faith in the law of the tithe, and given thanks for God's watch care. This blog has given me vehicle to exult in His glory. I am grateful for our experiment. Many a day came that I felt inadequate then someone would comment. Thank you. May God bless each of us. Miracles have not ceased and I am glad because I need them.

Breakfast: Homemade cold cereal, milk and raisins;
Lunch: Tuscan Tomato Bread Soup from theprudenthomemaker.com This recipe featured my favorite staples - bread and tomatoes. I loved the flavor. Even without any salt, it tasted great. This is a wonderful site full of helpful information.

Dinner: Roast Beef, cabbage/nut and raisin salad, fresh whole wheat bread Grandma stopped for 15 minutes on her way across country. She exulted, The best restaurant in town!" (Grandmas are bias.)

We figured out an eggless brownie we like:

3 cups flour (white or whole wheat)
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup chocolate pudding mix
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 TBS lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups water
Add 1 cup nuts (optional)

Mix and bake 30 minutes at 35o if using a cookie sheet size pan. Top with a ganache of chocolate chips mixed with 1 cup cream, melted over low heat and poured on top of the hot brownies. Cool before cutting.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Day 88 Final Thoughts

In two days our family will have gone 90 days without at major trip to the grocery store. We failed at making it all the way without any trips to the grocery store due to a shortage of formula and some deodorant. Nevertheless, we have gained valuable experience and friends along the way for which I am grateful. In one of my searches I encountered the idea that the best way to prepare for calamity if you live in Montana is to carry a gun or know a Mormon; Mormons have food stored in preparation for Armageddon. I chuckled, it is good advice. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, as they prefer to be called, does know a lot about storing food. They have been so counseled for over a 100 years. If one has the desire to learn and there are Mormons around, make friends. If there are readers of this blog who are LDS, make friends with the neighbors. God is no respecter of persons in times of plenty or of want. I am most grateful for my Hindi neighbors who taught me how to savor Indian dishes. The curried potatoes and okra was the best dish we tried. I am grateful for the Mexican, Japanese, and German dishes that added versatility to our menu. Beyond preparing food, one is in great company when sharing cultural beliefs, traditions and values that encourage stepping out of the world. I gained a valuable ally when I read the thoughts of a Jewish father sharing his gratitude for Kosher Dietary Law which helps his children internalize the need to set themselves apart from the selfish, narcissistic, entitlement mentality of pop culture.

The failure to have faith on oneself to do hard things (including cooking from scratch) is a curse. The failure to believe in others is a greater affliction. Government policies that provide goods and services requiring nothing in exchange destroy the individual, families and nations. The living standards of the Native American Nation on reservations is evidence of this plague of the dole. Building self esteem by building self reliance to live off food stored at home is perhaps the most effective way to combat this evil. Quickly faith in oneself translates to a belief that others too can provide for themselves without government intervention. The curse of laziness is lifted.

This nation is at pivotal crossroads. Storing supplies in ones home goes far beyond protecting against natural disasters, unemployment, pandemics, and world financial collapse. I have a far greater hope for America. No other nation on the Earth has embraced a democratic republic form of government encouraging a capitalistic economy. This form of government works great as long as people govern themselves with moral courage to defeat greed and selfishness. The great number of little league sports teams that are sponsored by private business is a single indicator to me of the generosity of the human heart if given a chance to succeed. The great Universities in our state, Hospitals, and the Museums of Art have resulted and are maintained because of the philanthropy of individuals. Certainly the incidence of giving far exceeds greed. As a nation we can protect the American dream if we can keep ourselves from crawling to governments for aid. When we ran out of formula, I felt that pinch. Would I go to a government agency to get nourishment for my baby? The alternatives weren't working. Hunger will drive people to compromise principles. Power hungry rulers induce hunger by increasing dependence. Let's preempt evil, power and greed starting with feeding our families providently.

Beyond national economics, let's protect ourselves with a diet that diminishes risk of Cancer, Heart disease, and Attention Deficit Disorder to name a few. Let's invest in relationships. Some of the best moments we have shared the last three months were rolling out bread sticks, flavoring the tomato sauce and tasting our cooking experiments together. Physical and emotional health benefits are innumerable when eating a diet that is based on whole foods.

Of all the food on our shelves, I was most grateful for basics of wheat, rice, corn, potatoes, and legumes. Topping my wish list is to increase the variety of those grains - quinoa, buckwheat, couscous, more brown rice, and others. These basics are part of our normal diet and ensure that I always have something to cook. Next, it is comforting to have bottled, dried or frozen vegetables on hand. For us tomatoes are a staple. With tomatoes and grains we can eat pizza, spaghetti, tomato soups, lasagnas, and macaroni dishes in any number of forms: calzones, empanadas, miniature or grande, salad combos and hot entrees. Having meat is a luxury and I want to have meat. I am freezing and bottling meat. All the other items from butter and chocolate chips to spices I will continue to purchase when the price is right according to our preferences. It is entirely feasible to live off one's shelves for months without missing the grocery store.

Breakfast: Whole wheat cinnamon rolls with cheese melted on top
Lunch: Tuna sandwiches and tuna salad
Dinner: Dirty Rice with taco meat, tomatoes, onions, leftover rice, spiced with extra cumin, salt, and chili powder. We topped it with mozzarella and green onions. Delicious.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Day 87 Dinner Table

When I was a child, my mother built a table that was 24 feet long of ply board and cinderblocks. She covered it with a bright yellow strip of cloth with a beautiful centerpiece in the center. We used it for Thanksgiving dinner a couple of times. It was perfect for gathering a crowd. My cousin, mother of nine children, was given a gift of an extra long table that her son created in woods at school. She noted that with adult children, extra curricular activities, and work demands, the only time the whole family really gets to be all together is around the Dining Room Table. When my Grandmother would call everyone to dinner around her table, I remember it was the smallest children's responsibility to turn the chairs facing out before people came. This preparation allowed everyone to kneel and pray before eating. My mother often read aloud a Family novel or history as we were gathered round the table. Conversation, exchange of information, education and just companionship fed the soul as much as the body at Dinner. I add my conviction that the Dinning Room Table may be the single most important place in our homes that families gather. It is time to make our Tables one of the most inviting spots in our homes that nourishes our souls and well as our bodies.

Breakfast: Toast with peanut butter; Mush with fruit and dried milk
Lunch: Fresh bread and peanut butter; cinnamon rolls
Dinner: Tuna empanada - recipe from Epicurious.com Onions, garlic, diced tomatoes and tuna filled this empanada made from frozen pie dough. I am so tickled to learn to defrost the pie dough in a hot water bath on the counter top. Thawing takes minutes before one can roll it out. This was a new dish for us. Everyone liked it but the three year old. He said it almost made him throw up.

Mung Bean Sprouts Success at last

These mung beans are sprouted from the tiny variety of mung beans at the Indian market. Other varieties are larger to begin with and the sprouts are thicker. As the spouts begin to grow, I covered them with several layers of damp newspaper then put a sack of marbles on top to offer resistance to the sprouts. As they grow they push the marbles up creating a thicker stem on the sprout.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Day 86 Conversations with a 3 year Old - Epicurious

"Mom, do you like me?"
"Yes, I love you."
"But do you like me?"
"I like you."
"You love me and fix food I like for me?"
"Yes, I try to fix food you like."
Smiling, "I like macaroni and chicken."

"Okay," I think, "Uncanny how a 3 year old connects the food I prepare with my love for him."

I had 2 bags of frozen okra in our freezer for a couple of years. Lacking experience with okra, I went to epicurious.com. The dinner I decided on was rated 3-1/2 stars and required a lot of unusual spices including Fennel, ground Coriander, Curry, garlic, cinnamon sticks, cayenne pepper, and Ginger. Living off one's shelves never needs to be boring if there are spices available. I have these spices! (I even found some curry in the spice tote. I wanted to learn how to do Indian cooking and bought them years ago but have not used them. Good thing we are taking this challenge to use what is on our shelves.) I will not try and copy the recipe. Epicurious.com is a great site to find recipes for any ingredient one desires to use.

Dinner Reviews: Curried Chicken legs with Okra and Potatoes Gourmet June 1999
I used Chicken Breast not legs, 1/2 the oil, and diced tomatoes blended instead of paste, and doubled the potatoes and chicken in proportion to the spice.
"You are cooking the best chicken for me?" (3 year old)
"Why cannot we eat like this when we are not on 'food storage'?" (12 year old)
"This is delicious food." (3 year old)
"This is real food." (12 year old)
"My stomach aches - something in this combination doesn't set well." (16 year old)
"This is good." (14 year old)

And my husband at 10:30 p.m. said with total awe in his voice,"What was that! You can do that again." He didn't even get a piece of chicken, someone pilfered it. He assures me he will be happy with the okra, potato mix anytime. I'll plant and harvest okra to freeze.

Breakfast: Pancakes made with wheat flour and a batch made with white flour with no eggs but a banana instead. Fluffy and satisfying.

Lunch: spaghetti with white sauce flavored with Parmesan and Mozzarella. The children were on their own and fixed this delicious meal. Pineapple was served for a side.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day 85 Intestinal Fortitude - Kedging

I must admit we are all tired of asking what there is to eat. Part of me feels guilty because it is a choice for us not a necessity. Last year during the months of January, February, March and April, I spent an average of $88 per person on food without thinking about a budget. This year so far it is nearer to $65 with the extra trips we've made for formula and pop for church. Our supplies have increased because of the leftover spices, canned fruit, dog food, and staples that we purchased to make it a pleasant experience. I offer my deep respect for those who live without going to the grocery store all the time because they chose to live honestly with their financial situation.

Often we feel we are "kedging." This sailing terms describes a maneuvered used when the boat is "becalmed" or in still waters with no wind, the sailors would put the anchor in a row boat, row as far as they could, drop the anchor then pull the ship along the rope to the new position. Repeating this tedious task the sailors would slowly move until the wind blew again. During the Revolutionary War, the US Constitution found itself becalmed and surrounded by British warships who were also stuck in the calm sea. Keeping an American spirit of optimism the sailors "kedged." After three exhausting days they had put enough distance between themselves and the enemy that when the winds picked up, they had a head start and could out run the British.

We did not plan every meal for three months, we did not shop to cover all the bases. I wanted to run out of eggs; I wanted to have no milk for three months, I wanted to not have fresh produce for a few weeks. I wanted the experience to be challenging for our family but not impossible. I wanted for us to be forced to put on our creative hats and invent meals. Our intestinal fortitude is being tested. In these calm waters as we try new strategies, we are growing more self reliant. When the real challenge comes we will be out ahead of the game and be in better shape financially, emotionally and hopefully have increased unity in our family.

Sometimes we feel like we are pulling a war ship from a little row boat. The kitchen looks like a laboratory with the sprouts, wheat grinder, yogurt, and pressure cooker all in action. We have every plate in the cupboard on the table and we have used every burner on the stove to make dinner. The dishes never end. Not all the family is behind the effort every day exclaiming "Can't we buy milk? There is nothing for lunches! I am Calcium deprived" It takes hours to plan, prepare and cook. Yet with every effort we have grown in experience and fortitude. My daughter said yesterday she wished to continue taking lunch. It is healthier, it is more convenient to eat when she is hungry, it is cheaper. I recognized a breakthrough.

Breakfast: Christmas Pudding pilaf - I tried to substitute rice in the carrot pudding. If you like the carrot pudding flavors, this is a good recipe to try.

Lunch: Tamale Pie out of the freezer
Dinner: Leftovers with a fruit salad made of whipped cream, pineapple, coconut, ricotta cheese from dried milk, and jello for flavoring

Day 84 The ambiance of Home and Edible Wild Plants

When I got married and found myself hosting guests within days, my mother counseled to at least have some onions simmering in the stove to let the good savory smells at least give the appearance that food would be provided soon. It is that reason that I use fresh onions instead of the dehydrated all the time, which are by far more convenient, but do not lend themselves to being sauteed. In the same spirit, setting the table can set the atmosphere that dinner is coming. It may yet be two hours away but the assurance is there. It doesn't matter so much what is for dinner as that dinner is coming. So often when I rush in the kitchen at 5:45 and dinner should be served by 6:00 the protocol is to set something on the stove that smells good and then set the table before my man walks in the door. He is patient and never complains when I fail but he is appreciative when we succeed.

I needed to have a little fresh green at dinner tonight so we harvested some dandelion greens. The fertilizer has not been put out yet this spring, and the greens are yet tender. Dandelion leaves are one of the many edible wild plants. At various times I have tried some to the amazement and delight of my children. In the spring cattails are a treat. They are picked green then boiled and eaten like corn on the cob with butter and salt. They taste a lot like artichoke hearts and there is so little to eat that it is mostly a novelty. After three months of the same foods, novelties are welcome.

Breakfast: Breakfast pockets which we created new this morning. I started with a pizza dough, added Parmesan cheese, basil and garlic. (These smelled really good at they baked.) For a stuffing we cooked 1 cup dehydrated potatoes, 1/2 cup frozen peas, 1/2 cup frozen green Lima beans, a 1/2 cup white beans, with salt and lemon pepper. We rolled the dough and cut it into three inch squares, placed about 2 TBS of the filling with 2 TBS of cheese and pinched the sides together to make a pocket like a Calzone. We ate these without sauce much to my children's dismay.

Lunch: Leftovers with Mac and Cheese to augment

Dinner: Pasta Salad, Chalupa with Rice. The pasta salad contained dandelion greens ( 1 -2 leaves per person), 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint, and three small green onions sliced thinly, 1 cup pineapple tidbits (I cut apart chunks), 1/2 cup walnuts, 1/2 cup bacon pieces (from the freezer), and 3 cups macaroni like pasta. The dressing was Miracle whip sweetened with sugar and thinned with milk. I think I will use dandelion greens more often.

Monday, April 19, 2010

83 Eggs

Eggs can be stored a long time. When I was a child my mother would buy them a case at a time (36 dozen). She would buy checks which means they were the seconds with thinner shells. They did not have high enough quality to be sold in grocery stores. The risk of salmonella is higher so she made sure to cook the eggs well before we ate them. We had scrambled eggs instead of sunny side up or easy over. I have seen eggs stacked 8 feet high in 110 degree heat on the open side walks in India. Eggs could have easily stored the 3 months, but I only purchased 10 dozen so that we could experience some real survival. Some have stored shelf stable eggs that have been coated with mineral oil and are then rotated to maintain freshness. Our family can easily use a dozen in a batch of scrambled eggs. So for fresh consumption, it is impractical for us to store large quantities of eggs. But I will make sure to have more Knox gelatin on hand after this.

I am feeling like a lacto ovo vegetarian with no fresh produce. I was feeling sorry for myself when it dawned on me that all the third world countries eat like this. Rice and beans are the staple. We enjoy a high standard of living.

Breakfast: Split pea soup - it was the only thing hot and filling. We were hungry enough to eat it while the garlic bread sticks were baking. They were delicious.

Lunch: Sushi! Thank you for the suggestion. I had forgotten I had some nori in the pantry. The children snack on it like potato chips.

Dinner: Chinese egg drop soup minus the egg. We used dried kelp in place of the spinach. This is a great dry stapple. I will get more for future use. And after three tries we succeeded in sprouting mung beans. They were crunchy and fantastic in the soup. We also had calzones with mozzarella, olives and onions and tomato sauce for dipping. Another 3 meals are prepared and eaten!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Day 82 Manna from Heaven and Days of Creation

God wants us to eat. Long ago He provided manna for the Israelites and today, abundant resources for us. The requirements are that we work to obtain food and reserve Sunday as a day of rest. When we do our food becomes sweet to us just as the manna was sweet to the Israelites.

I love studying the creation. If we ordered the food we store according to days of creation, we would prioritize 1)emergency water (separating water and land on day two) and then food from 2)plant sources before food from 3) animal sources. In other words we would store grains, and legumes before meat. All our storage efforts build to a seventh day, a day of rest, a day to commune with God. In a way every meal is the seventh day. It is the time we stop to rest and renew and talk with God as we offer a prayer over the food and give thanks to Him.

Breakfast: Three people had leftover cheeseburger soup. I had hummus with cheese on top and the little children had bread and peanut butter.

Lunch: Split pea soup form the crock pot(most skipped this meal) because of church. The soup was delicious. We will have leftovers for tomorrow.

Dinner: Baked chicken quarters. Potato steak fries with mayonnaise and ketchup, and sprouts were available.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Day 81 Finding Comfort Abroad

In 2006 we ventured to Chennai, India with eight children and six months pregnant with the ninth. Our purpose was to carry 100 pounds of food in our checked baggage to friends. One of my most treasured memories while visiting was seeing an Indian Mother of our neighbor's. I first met her when she visited her son in Omaha for six months. One day she accidentally got locked out of her son's house. While she waited at my house for him to come home and unlock the door, she made Indian chapati with my little ones. I ground the wheat in my wheat grinder and she added a little salt, oil, and water; let the dough rest then fried up delicious little "tortillas." I could not have been more surprised when I stepped into her kitchen in India and she showed me the big 20 gallon barrel in which she stored her wheat. She had raised her children on wheat and rice. When she stepped into my kitchen and saw wheat berries, she was as shocked as I was to find out that an American used whole wheat. We enjoyed visiting. There is common ground with most of the cultures of the world if one knows how to cook with basic grains: corn, rice, and wheat.

Breakfast: Polenta flavored with chopped onion and cheese
Lunch: Peanut butter on toast and cinnamon
Dinner: Cheese burger stew. (ground beef, onions, chopped potatoes, carrots (dehydrated), spices, and cheese whiz with a little grated cheddar.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Day 80/90 Count Down!

I am planning our purchases. We are out of Crisco, cornstarch, canned milk, and need to restock a number of items. If I had butter flavored Crisco, we could make cookies much easier. Someone even suggested using butter flavored Crisco for a spread. It would be a new purchase for me but would definitely help with the shelf stable menu.

The children listed their favorite 5-6 dishes of the last three months: Rice Pizza, Lemon Dill Chicken with Penne Pasta, Pork fried Rice, Pork lo Mein, Cheesy tuna sandwiches with tomato soup, and Chicken Alfredo.

Breakfast: Rice Pudding made with vanilla pudding.
Lunch: Leftovers.
Snack: The last of the Fruit Snacks
Dinner: Lemon Chicken with Penne pasta except I didn't have any penne pasta so used egg drop noodles, in place of the celery we chopped some asparagus, and I used the frozen whipping cream that I thought I would use to mix with the dried milk and didn't. It was scrumptious. A little neighbor girl joined us and ate four servings. She said, "This is delicious." My eight year old said,"You should live off your food storage too."
Potatoes and Onions

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Day 79 Women Making a Difference

I'll try to leave the politics alone for a day but I am struck with the power of women in preserving values in our Society. We can insist that fathers are important and that we value honorable discharge of their parental duty. There is a community I know of where the men own nice recreational equipment - boats, dirt bikes, four wheelers, jet skis, and big trucks. They have good jobs to pay for all their toys but their wives work to pay the mortgage. Children go to day care. Mothers come home tired and pick up fast food for dinner. Really, women let's 1) decide who is going to raise the children and who is going to feed the husbands. 2) Lets implement some of the strategies in Dr. Laura's book "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands." After a treating her man to a tasty meal, I think a women needs to insist that priorities be on feeding the family. Mothers and wives need to be willing to cook.

I had just posted the title to this entry when, we told my husband what was for dinner. He heard sour kraut and stood in silence purely dumbfounded. I laughed out loud he was so cute standing there with a "You've go to be kidding me." He will get extra TLC.

Breakfast: We made bread, finally and served scones for breakfast.

Lunch: Creamed beef over toast. This is white sauce with ground beef and green beans.
I have made this with tuna but never with ground beef. I also tried to make the cream sauce with cornmeal flour, dried milk and oil instead of margarine. I really liked the flavor of the cornmeal. It cooked well and made a nice white sauce. (4 cups dried milk, 1 cup cornmeal flour, 1 cup oil. Stir it all together until the chunks of oil have crumbled to pea size. Mix 2 cups hot water, 1 cup mix. Bring to boil until thickened. Stir it constantly or it will burn. Add meat and vegetables.
Dinner: Pork, sourkraut, and fresh potatoes simmered in the crock pot all afternoon. It was delicious. Even my husband liked the dish. (He only listed one thing he would not eat when we got married and sour kraut is it. But tonight proved that likes can change.) Side was a cabbage, ramen noodle salad. I burned the nuts! Oh well.

Snack: Eggless Brownies (We are still experimenting with the recipes.)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Day 78 Scrambling for Snacks

All day the children were asking for cookies, bread and cinnamon, ice cream.... It seemed like they wanted food as soon as we cleaned up from the last meal. When there is no bread to eat we feel like we are starving.

Breakfast: leftover BBQ pork, Carrot pudding, and the polenta was so popular last night that we made more Corn Grits made with a finer grind of corn flour. We seasoned the polenta with Parmesan and Asiago cheese. The report was that this could be a white sauce over chicken like the Alfredo sauce.
Sack lunch: Chicken salad with ring and run lettuce,mozzarella cheese and bottled chicken; nuts and rasins, raw cooky dough(no eggs),
Lunch: oyster soup with leftover wheat chapati with melted mozzarella cheese.
Dinner: Chicken pot Pie:

1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups leftover gravy
3 cups dice chicken (from bottles)
1 cup green frozen baby lima beans
1/2 cup dehydrated carrots
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 cup dehydrated potatoes
1 cup fresh celery diced (the last)
1/2 cup garbanzo beans partially mashed

Heat well, pour into pie dish and bake till golden brown.

Snack: Chocolate chip cookies made with oil instead of shortening, and meringue powder instead of eggs. The cookies were too crumbly. I added flaxmeal. It didn't help. I added mayonaise. It didn't help. Lesson have margarine or butter on hand for cookies.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Day 77 Unifying a Nation one Family at a Time

We are studying the Revolutionary War. The struggle to build a nation to include so many diverse people and a federal government to protect the rights of the individual was miraculous. Our forefathers succeeded in building a nation. Today we need to feel a common goal. This week I had the opportunity to visit with men and women who lived as children during WWII. They said the whole nation was unified. Everyone had a son in the war. We each have children in the war of today. It is a war to preserve individual freedoms from huge government debt among other issues. We need a miracle to protect the rights of the each person to succeed or fail without government intervention and defeat a welfare state.

I have witnessed two miracles in my close friends. One has a family history of welfare dependence. For her whole life her mother has depended on others to help her through each month. My friend started with learning how to make yogurt. Then she managed to switch her family to drinking dried milk instead of fresh skim. She learned to make cream cheese and soon discovered the 25 pound sack of dried milk would last her 6 months. She didn't need to go to the store as often and spent less money. With that new confidence, twice she has been able to stay off welfare for a month or more during periods of unemployment. More important than the financial freedom is the improved self esteem that has resulted. She is seeking to better her education and a cycle is being broken.

Another friend has started living off of her shelves a month at a time. They have posted a want list and a wish list on the fridge. Through the month they prioritize items on the list. She is learning to cook, make do and make heathier choices. And the grocery trips are being drastically reduced. Little by little individual agency is being exercised - to act instead of being acted upon. And the miracle is the self worth that is growing as the family works together to achieve common goal.

These women are my heros. If they can learn to be more self reliant, there is hope for all of us. One family at a time our nation will be rescued from the growing population who demands something for nothing.

Breakfast: A healthy version of Carrot Pudding:

1 cup dehydrated carrots
1 cup dehydrated potatoes
1 cup dried apples
1 cup raisins
3 cups water
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup oil
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup flaxmeal
1/2 cup dried milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

Cooking directions (see post 76)
Lemon Sauce (see post 76)

This was good although not nearly as sweet and needed the lemon sauce to be really tempting.

Lunch: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on white bread

Dinner: Venison roast out of the crock pot, Polenta, green beans and cranberry jelly as a garnish. I have never cooked polenta. I ground popcorn that I bought in bulk several years ago into a coarse meal, cooked it like cornmeal mush, added salt and whipping cream. The children loved it. They asked for more. I will have to find the white corn and yellow corn that is in the storage so we can grind more meal. My husband was delighted to have roast.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Day 76 What did we sacrifice so far?

We have missed some sales during these last two months without going to the grocery store. Some have wondered if it has hurt us and what would we do if my husband lost his job at day 89? First of all our family normally eats a lot of whole wheat bread. We have enough grain to last us months maybe years. We have beans, rice, salt, sugar, yeast, baking powder, and spices. My 10 year old daughter said today at lunch "We could live off food storage forever if we just had some chickens." She is perceptive. We have eaten so many different dishes that she thinks we could just keep coming up with new combinations forever. What we have missed in sales is "extra" foods that come on sale every year. This year I will do without the salmon and tuna that I often stock up on during lent, we will not have 2-3 corned beef packages in the bottom of the freezer. We have sacrifice variety, not life sustaining food supplies.

What if we had not had fresh produce? I stocked up on produce to experiment with how long we could make it last and how long it would stay fresh if refrigerated and wrapped in tin foil. Through the years we regularly (usually in March and November) go two to four weeks living off our shelves. I knew we could go easily 6 weeks. That was how long it took to nearly exhaust what I am familiar with cooking. Regularly I buy 150 pounds of potatoes in the fall and winter when they come on sale. These last us 3 months or so. The 50 pounds of onions I buy in October to last through April when the weather is still cool. Citrus goes on sale in December and January. I buy 7-8 bags of oranges and grapefruit 20 pounds each. This is a normal procedure. Out of the ordinary for this venture was 8 stalks of celery, 8 heads of cabbage, and 35 pounds of carrots. This fresh produce would accent our canned corn, beans, peaches, pears, pineapple, and tropical fruit. If we did not have the fresh produce we would have eaten more what was in the storage room and used more sprouts.

This mentality that living off ones shelves is an expensive or risky way to eat shows that as a society we don't know how to cook or we don't know how to do math. What my teenage son spends for a fast food lunch ($7.00) will buy a 25 pound bag of wheat that will make about 30 loaves of bread or pancakes, or muffins, or hot cereal or sprouts that will feed our whole family a month. The money we spent on fresh produce was $4.50 per person per month. As noted by many followers living off our shelves is a lifestyle not an event.

What we must regain is an "American Dream." We must catch an excitement that if we put a strategy into play, sacrifice and stick to the plan, we can reach a goal. This goal may be to keep food on the table through a period of unemployment, lift thousand of dollars of debt, finance a college career or build stronger family relationships by sitting down to a homemade "family dinner" 4/7 days a week. In no way has our sacrifice been larger than our gain. Our whole family is more confident. We have all gained satisfaction as each day has required a little creativity to use what we have.

Breakfast: Carrot Pudding. This was served as a Christmas delicacy when I was a child. I am delighted to find another was to get Vitamin A in the menu without serving fresh carrots or cabbage. This is a hit. Tomorrow I will try a healthier modification.
Steamed Carrot Pudding:
1 cup dehydrated carrots
3/4 cup dehydrated diced potatoes
1/2 cup dried apples
1/2 cup salad oil
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
3 cups water
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp soda

Mix all together, fill 2 Number 2 cans (tomato juice cans) or casserole dish with the pudding 3/4 of the way full, place in pressure cooker and cook without weight for 20 minutes then with weight for 50 minutes. Let pressure drop naturally.

Lemon Sauce:
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
2 TBS cornstarch
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 TBS butter

(I omitted the allspice, used flour instead of cornstarch, and omitted the butter)

Lunch: A gluten free pizza made with rice. The original recipe called for 3 cups rice and 1 egg. I used 1-1/2 cups Japanese sticky rice and 1-1/2 cups regular rice, cooked it, pressed it into a cookie sheet pan and baked it for 20 minutes while we made the pizza sauce. Then built the pizza with olives and mozzarella cheese. The children ate it with great relish.

Dinner: BBQ pork on white rolls, the last half of the green salad from the ring and run, and canned fruit.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Day 75 The Example of an Ant

Our family read Proverbs 6:6, 8 "Go to the ant...consider her ways and be wise. Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest." It is scripture from the Old Testament. Let us obey.

A kind soul(s) rang our doorbell and ran. On our step they left a fresh pineapple and a bag of lettuce. We will enjoy. I am grateful. Perhaps we can always store enough to share and make sharing a regular routine. After all the second commandment is to love thy neighbor.

Breakfast: Cornmeal mixed with oatmeal, brown sugar and dried milk
Lunch: The children pieced on leftover taco soup and cabbage salad
Snack: Frozen yogurt
Dinner: A Crock Pot meal of rice with pork loin, cream of celery soup, 2 TBS dehydrated onion and spices (I used an Asian Grill Mix that has sesame seeds, garlic, and a variety of spices in the mix.) Sides: Steamed fresh asparagus from the garden, lettuce salad from the Drop and Ditch Service, fresh pineapple, and Raisin Apple Pie with frozen yogurt. I overcooked the pie but it was good.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Day 74 Patience a Lost Art

We tilled the garden today. As I anticipated planting and harvesting garden fruits in 3-5 months, I marvelled at how long I will have to wait. In a day and age where we can call, text or send an email within minutes of any thought; we walk into a store and walk out with beautifully designed coordinated clothes; we buy a hamburger within minutes of being hungry; we can fulfill any desire or need without exercising any patience. Our whole lifestyle is a "Microwave" lifestyle. It is an inconvenience to us if anything requires patience and time to satisfy. As a result tempers explode out of control. Communication that requires hours and days is left undone and relationships suffer. Food can be a great tool in helping us develop better self control. We can exercise patience to cook from scratch, to plant and harvest, and to sit and eat.

Breakfast: oatmeal pancakes with banana for the egg substitute, mashed potato with mozzarella cheese pancakes

Lunch: Taco Soup with corn chips, cheese and a few people had left over mashed potatoes for a side.

Dinner: Macaroni and cheese. Daddy read a story while we ate. To celebrate, we divided three snickers bars to relish while we listened.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Day 73 My Dad's Birthday Establishing Peace

Sixteen years ago my father was killed in a ranching accident at 53 years old. He left my mother with four of eight children still at home. Today,April 9th, is his birthday. We are celebrating his life with a birthday dinner of his favorite foods: chicken with mashed potatoes and creamed milk chicken gravy. He also liked banana cream pie. We will round out the menu with cheesy green beans with almonds and cabbage salad (thank goodness cabbages last long and we can put sugar in the dressing with lots of walnuts and raisins.) Dad's legacy includes 33 grandchildren and more to come.

In the movie Babett's Feast a French cheff comes to live in an isolated little town on the desolate coast of Denmark. Two beautiful daughters of a pious clergyman are keeping the town together by preaching self denial and simple living. They feed the elderly on beer bread and fish. After many years contentions begin to erode the small congregation. The French cook, Babett, soon has copper kettles and herbs hanging in her kitchen. She bargains for the freshest and indulges in the rare produce like onions. In a once in a lifetime splurge Babett prepares a sumptuous feast. As everyone dines on course after course of delectable edibles including turtle soup, stuffed quail, and pastries one dispute after another is resolved. The town grievances melt. Such should be one function of our dinner hour. Everyone should sense that this hour demands ones best behavior, naturally inviting reconciliation and forgiveness as foods soften hurt feelings by making those partaking feel the part of royalty.

Breakfast: Rice Pudding and the potatoes from yesterday mixed with cream of chicken soup to moisten them
Lunch: Peanut Butter Sandwiches

Behind the scenes: The mashed potatoes were all instant tonight. To help give a buttery flavor I used 1 TBS ACT II popcorn salt. It tuned the 3 quarts of water orange! Luckily by the time I added the instant flakes and cream, they tasted good enough that two people, including my husband, thought I had used half real potatoes and half instant.

Day 72 Emma and other Family Books

Reading family books around the dinner table created many fond memories in my childhood. My children and I have enjoyed many books including Little Britches and Emma by Ralph Moody.

Breakfast: diced potatoes rehydrated with ground garbanzo beans with melted cheese (from the freezer). The children thought this dish too dry and ate it hesitantly. I wanted a protein source besides hamburger or ham and so tried the beans. They mashed in with the potatoes so no one cared enough to object.

Lunch: The children ate leftovers and sandwiches made with mashed potatoes. This is a lunch used during the depression when meat was scarce. The children thought they were okay.

Dinner: Baked Beans over rice I started the crock pot early in the day with half an onion, 3 cups of ground beef already fried from the freezer, 3 cups of garbanzo beans and 3 cups of black beans, 1/2 cup precooked bacon from the freezer flavored with 1/2 cup molasses, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 TBS mustard, 1/2 cup ketchup garlic, salt, and pepper to taste. All day the delicious aroma filled the house making home cozy.

Baked Beans reminds me the heroic mother, Emma, who was widowed when she was 3 months pregnant with her fifth child in the early 1900's. Ralph Moody describes his mother's determination to be self reliant and provide for her own. We could use more such resolve today.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Day 71 The children are Hungry

The first greeting of the day was "Your son is hungry. What's for breakfast?" So I started making oatmeal pancakes without eggs. The first batch, made with mayonnaise, fell to crumbs. The second batch, made with flax meal, held together but was so heavy even I didn't want to eat them. The children ate yogurt, pie cherries, and homemade cold cereal for breakfast.

Again at lunch the cry came "I am starving." So I heated the leftover goulash for a first course an started making pigs in a blanket with our only pack of hot dogs. The eight year old said, "Oh, Mom, I love you!"when she saw the baking pan. Everyone seemed satisfied after a second course of lunch when the hot dogs came out of the oven.

Dinner consisted of teriyaki beef (cut from a chuck roast) mashed potatoes made with bottled butter (delicious), and green beans. The beef had teriyaki sauce made from scratch with green onions from the garden to accent.

The children made Almond cookies to take to a church function. Our last two eggs served a noble purpose. The determined child in charge found another sack of almonds in the bottom of the freezer and 25 pounds of white flour in the storage room. We were grateful to have 1 cup of bottled real butter. It worked great in the cookies.

The real news of the day was that my husband made another trip to the grocery store. He bought flowers for me. I'm delighted.

Day 70 Bottling Meat and Managing Risk

Bottled meat is nice to have if one is trying to live off one's shelves, it is also great to have just for convenience, and bottling meat saves a lot of money when meat is purchased on sale. The process is not really difficult but it does require adherence to strict guidelines to minimize the risk of food spoilage. My mother bottled thousands of quarts and 2 quart bottles of fruit throughout my lifetime. There was additional risk due to our high altitude in Wyoming. She managed that risk by cooking the fruit in the jars before sealing and processing the jars. This eliminated any chance that the fruit would expand and push the lids or let a little pulp get on the rim compromising a seal. She made sure all air bubbles were worked out as the fruit boiled in the canner then wiped the rims clean and dry before putting the hot sterilized lids on the jar. Finally she processed the fruit extra time to correct for higher altitude. She never put any jars on the shelf that had not sealed. Nevertheless we were taught to always make sure the lid was on tight when we opened the bottle. If not, we were to toss it. Common Sense enabled us to eat.

I am so glad that several of the readers of this blog have commented on the safety of bottling butter. They left an excellent web address to get answers to all canning questions. (www.uga.edu/nchfp/questions/FAQ_canning.html Botulism Spores are everywhere. They do not really harm us unless kept in an environment without any air then toxins begin to be produced. Toxins, which can make us ill and be fatal, can be disabled by boiling food for 10 minutes. To manage the risk with butter there are several levels possible:

1) Only use freezer preserved butter.

2) Boil the butter to disable toxins prior to sealing.

3) Use butter preserved this way only in cooking so that the butter is heated and toxins disabled. During this challenge, we have used most of our butter in cookies and Magic Mix white sauce which are both heated well.

4) As a spread, one could gently boil the butter again before use. The butter is grainy when it hardens but the flavor is good. As it cools after boiling the second time, gently invert the jar several times to promote mixing into a creamy cloud. Once melted on toast, the graininess is unnoticeable.

Or 5) As the web site notes most of the Internet methods promote "open kettle" bottling. Butter is a low acid food like meat. Meat can be pressure canned to kill the botulism spores. Researchers have simply not collected data to know if botulism can be killed in butter as well. I pressure canned half pint jars for 20 minutes and 75 minutes at 14 pounds pressure just to be sure Omaha's elevation isn't off 2000 feet or my gauge is bad (11 pounds is recommended). The 75 minute processing left the butter slightly browned. The 20 minute processing was the same as open kettle in appearance. Neither flavor was unacceptable. I would be grateful to have either one my shelves after three months of living off what we have.

The lids sealed well within five minutes of removing them from the heat. There is some concern that greasy meats and butter would get on the lip of the jar and prevent sealing. I melted the butter, filled the jar (sterilized with water and soap), wiped the lip smooth and dry, screwed the sterilized lid on tightly and processed it in the pressure canner.

At any perspective one is managing the risk to be within acceptable limits of safety. Butter is sold from big blocks that are 1 cubic yard square in Estonia. People are not dropping like flies. It was kept at room temperature in the late 1800's. The web site reports butter is sold in shelf stable tins in foreign countries. The risk seems to be manageable to me.

I have read, cheese, also reportedly at risk for botulism, is still dipped in wax and kept at room temperature in the Wisconsin grocery stores and many European vendors still have hard cheese hanging from the ceiling ripening to delicious perfection.

Even the web site on canning standards manages risk: "Good quality butter is available at all times, if butter is needed for fresh use." Pictures below show how well the grocers were able to manage this risk just two months ago when the storms hit the East Coast. They ordered in extra trucks to prepare for the predicted storms. You can see how long their preparation lasted. These pictures are taken two days after the first storm.

Thank Goodness we can govern ourselves to a level of risk with which we feel comfortable.

We made two batches of bread today. One burned so we trimmed off the crust and kept the middle for croutons. We used Rye flour that has been in the freezer for months. The bread has a wholesome, grainy taste. I like it but I would really enjoy butter on it and we don't have enough for spreads.

Breakfast: Leftovers with muffins
Lunch: Goulash - macaroni, hamburger, and tomato with corn added. This was my favorite dish in school lunch when we had Grandma Elsi doing the cooking.
Snack: frozen yogurt
Dinner: Everyone was on their own. Two chose black beans and rice, two chose cream of chicken soup and the little ones chose peanut butter and honey sandwiches. I chose the black beans with rice. My husband is out of town again and so spared eating more beans. (He loves the taste but doesn't like the risk of flatulance at work.)

Managing Risk

Grocery Shelves two days after snow storm on Eastern Coast. This is Bethesada, MD.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Day 69 Another Monday and Indoor Gardens

I had hoped to have fresh greens from small indoor gardens by this time. But the little leaves of lettuce are struggling. I do not know if it is not warm enough on the south windowsill or if they are not getting enough hours of sun light. The pictures on the Internet looked much more yummy. I did have two packages of seed left over from last year. There is no lettuce seed for sale in Omaha in January.

I feel like there is so much I have yet to try and only 21 days left of this challenge. At the same time the three year old is praying for apples and bananas. His is a life of luxury and he has no idea what real want is.

I improvised in an attempt to make frozen yogurt. I have run out of rock salt so I haven't attempted to use the ice cream maker because too much salt will cause the temperature to go too cold and the ice cream freezes too fast. Too little salt results in hours of churning for no frozen yogurt/ice cream. I guessed at the amount of table salt to substitute. It was too much and the freezer seized as it froze too fast. Oh well, at least it froze and I could stir it by hand.

Breakfast: I wanted to do Eggs Mornay (Boiled and served in a white sauce.) But there was not even one boiled egg left from Easter baskets. So I served a white sauce with chopped ham over wheat bread.

Lunch: Korean black beans. This recipe was in the paper two weeks ago. Basically the beans are flavored with soy sauce and served over rice.
Snacks: Leftover Apple pie pizza

Dinner: Chicken haystacks complete with fresh celery, canned pineapple, cream of chicken soup, and chunks of chicken browned with lemon pepper on a bed of rice.

Day 68 Easter Sunday

It has taken time for me to capture the feelings of this Holy week. The Holiest Holidays are celebrated with feasts and our most sacred covenants are guarded with fasts. Throughout the week I recounted some of the oppression levied by greedy governments. We watched Cecil B. DeMille's Ten Commandments. We saw a people oppressed in Moses' time by a wicked government freed by the hand of God. The Passover was instituted that we might never forget by what power the people went free. Christ died, was resurrected and because of Him, we are free. To commemorate this sacred event, we go to communion and partake of emblems of His Body and His blood. This is the most holy of all "foods" that is given to us to help us remember His love and devotion to us and ours for Him.

In some small way, every time a mother sacrifices to prepare and serve a meal to her family, it draws us together in love and unity. We are briefly freed from the evils of the world outside our homes. It is a sacramental offering with our families.

Brunch: Fresh potato casserole with taco meat and cheddar cheese.
Dinner: Baked chicken breast, baked potatoes with real butter, corn and cabbage/ramen noodle salad and green onions from the garden. (We used the last of the almonds in the Easter candy. They were delightful while they lasted.)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Day 67 Thickening Agents

There are many foods that can be used to thicken gravies, soups, and sauces. I feel like I should be a food scientist instead of a dietitian to know what is best for each situation. Nevertheless during this adventure, I have used instant potatoes, cornmeal and rice flour when I ran out of cornstarch and now that the white flour is running low. Wheat flour could also be used but would give a little more course product. Today I used rice flour to thicken the ham drippings. It made a slightly gritty and full bodied gravy. No one complained because any gravy was better than plain instant potatoes. Eggs are also used to thicken many products. I substituted 1 tsp of flour mixed with 2 tsp water in the Alfredo sauce a few weeks ago. Many recipes just leave the thickening agent out.

Breakfast: Easter Baskets
Snack: Hummus on wheat bread with margarine. Children were hungry at 11:00 but we weren't eating lunch for another 2 hours. They were willing to try the hummus and liked it. I froze three quarts of garbanzo beans cooked in the pressure cooker. We'll pull those out to make more hummus.
Lunch: Ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn and sprouts for salad.
Dinner: Pork Fried Rice: 6 cups cooked rice, 1 cup cooked diced pork, 1/2 cup fresh frozen green peas, 2 TBS reconstituted carrots, and 1/2 cup chopped green onion from the garden, 1/2 cup soy sauce to flavor. Yea! another meal done!

Now to prepare for Easter Sunday -

The children found their Easter baskets

Friday, April 2, 2010

Day 66 Counting down and Easter Preparations

I have 5 pounds of all purpose flour left and only 3 pounds of margarine. Now the real creativity will begin. Preparation is really a day at a time! Today I spent all afternoon cooking treats to put in our Easter baskets in the morning. When we started this challenge, Easter candies were not on sale. I bought some candy but naturally the children do not think it is enough. I secretly am glad for an excuse to simplify this part of the festivities. I attempted applets but they did not set well enough to put in the baskets. We put candied popcorn in cups and made little clusters of chopped apricots, raisins, and almonds with white chocolate (yes, I had 2 packages in the back of the pantry.) I baked little cups of carrot muffins to create something healthy to substitute for breakfast with no fresh fruit. I ran out of time and energy to do more candy tonight. The children colored our last one dozen eggs with an Easter Egg coloring kit they found in the storage room. We added some fruit snacks that have been hidden in the freezer, and a Pay Day candy bar.

Breakfast: Whole wheat mush with pineapple and walnuts
Lunch: Runza or cabbage filled rolls (pizza dough wrapped around steamed cabbage and taco meat with cheddar cheese) These tasted great but looked unappetizing.

Snack: Candied Popcorn and chocolate carrot cake with walnuts
Dinner: Chickpeas, with onions, okra in a sweet milk sauce. The recipe called for coconut milk. I have never used coconut milk and I don't want to use the few cans of canned milk that I am feeding the baby, so I used sweetened condensed milk with a little dried milk. The main spice was Curry. I thought I had a big jar but discovered I don't. This curried chick pea dish isn't curried but the flavor is good anyway. The children aren't used to this so they had a few tentative tastes and filled up on rice with margarine. The okra is viscous and a little unusual but I have large bags that I need to use so we'll try it anyway.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Day 65 Whole Wheat blender Pancakes

We had an adventure this morning as I made the whole wheat blender pancakes for the first time. They are wonderful. You start with the whole wheat berries and blend them with milk or water for 4 minutes then add the other ingredients and delicious hearty pancake batter emerges. On the second batch we experienced a mishap. The wheat broke a hole in the narrow neck mason jar I was using with our blender! (The container that came with the unit broke 6-7 weeks ago.) Wheat started shooting across the kitchen. Lesson, be careful when blending wheat. I really liked the pancakes though and it is good to know that even a cheap $25 blender can pulverize wheat enough to eat it if you add some liquid also.

Blender Wheat Pancakes:

1 cup milk (1/3 nonfat milk powder and 1 cup water)
1 cup uncooked whole wheat
2 eggs
2 TBS oil
2 tsp baking powder
2 TBS honey or sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Put milk and wheat in blender. Blend on highest speed for four or five minutes or until batter is smooth. Add and blend on low, eggs, oil, baking powder, honey and salt. Bake on hot griddle. We added 1 pkg Knox gelatin to the batter instead of eggs. This is a great recipe.
We topped the pancakes with elderberry syrup given to us by friends. All this syrup the plumb, apple and elderberry was picked off wild plumb trees, and wild elderberries at the park. I have also enjoyed bottling crab apple sauce from Dolgo Crab trees on a golf course near here. Grandma always said, "There is nothing quite as tasty as crab apple applesauce." (I add especially when it is free.)

Lunch: We enjoyed a picnic. Bread with peanut butter, oranges, eggless brownies from yesterday and water.

Dinner: I had 3/4 a #10 can of corn in the fridge. In order to use it I decided on corn/potato chowder. Dinner was quick and delicious.