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.
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.