Monday, March 21, 2011

Can Opener

Our can opener broke. It's always smart to have a back-up on hand. Fortunately, we do. It would make life miserable if you were living on dry and canned foods, without a can opener!
We are down to 11 days…and we are definitely missing a few items. I’m LONGING for fresh veggies….if only it was gardening season or I had a sprouter. Sprouting is something I’ll have to discover another day. As for now, I’m definitely looking forward to April 1st shopping trip! Cucumbers, I miss you:). We have carrots, but they are getting old.
Next, cheese and butter are something many of us think we can’t keep much of on hand. I have frozen cheese, which is ok, but leaves the cheese crumbly when thawed. But I have learned there are several alternatives.

I discovered these bad boys several years ago, and am using them quite regularly now. They are good. My cheese-loving children (only 2) will eat it like normal cheese. It works great in casseroles and even in scrambled eggs. The retailers of this cheese claim it melts. Well, it does, but it’s definitely not the normal melting of cheese. It is made from cream and is called “processed cheese”. Though it isn’t like Velveeta- it is sliceable and grateable and has real cheese texture. Though it doesn’t taste like real cheese to me, it will do. It tastes more like American cheese.
I have also learned you can wax your own REAL cheese and keep it for years. This lady give the 411 here .
I WILL do that if we ever live somewhere we can buy bulk cheese. (no Sam's or Costco in this little town).


These are AMAZING. Ingredients- cream, salt. Made in New Zealand. It is super creamy and a little sweeter than our butter here in the US. But it is REAL BUTTER! I’ve stored mine for over 4 years now, and it is perfectly fine. I would definitely keep this up in my storage. With all that wheat, we are making a LOT of bread- we need butter to go with it! I did have a friend who didn't care for the taste. So, it may be wise to try it before you stock up on it. Most of the sites I've browsed sell a sample can, 1/2 and full cases. Same for the bega canned cheese.

As for the kids and I, we are baking a lot. We are down to one loaf of frozen bread. I am totally utilizing my bread machine. It makes amazing dough, which I can bake in a normal bread pan, if I wish or us to make bread sticks, scones, rolls, etc.- all of which, my children have thoroughly enjoyed making (making a mess:)). This is Adelle and I watching something bake (I don't recall what at the moment).

Household items:

Several years ago, I decided I would buy our household items in sets of 12. One trip I bought 12 shampoo bottles (various brands, types). The next, 12 conditioners. Another time, I bought 12 packages of toothbrushes. Next 12 boxes of toothpaste. Etc, etc. Thus, we are pretty well stocked in that department. I haven't had to buy shampoo & conditioner, lotion, toothbrushes for years! We are almost of out of kid toothbrushes. I have had to replenish our toothpaste several times as well as floss. Bar soap keeps FOREVER. Just make sure you LOVE your bar soap b/c you might get sick of it:).

Diapers were a big concern for me. Several years ago, I made my own cloth diapers, and purchased several as well. I use them. Not on a daily basis- but I a lot myself so many disposable diapers a month. Usually by the last week, we are using cloth. Sometimes I use them more often. Definitely stretches the budget.

Paper Products:

TP- IMPORTANT! I don't want to use leaves. Though if you keep newspaper or magazines- they could be substituted if absolutely necessary:).

Paper towels- I utilize these tremendously. They are NOT a necessity though. I could just use rags if needed, but I do keep at least 1 bulk package on hand.


Laundry detergent- I have 12 small bottles of SUPER concentrated liquid soap. I ordered them actually by error on Amazon on time, but have been grateful for them. They will keep us CLEAN:). They can also be diluted as various cleaners.

Dish soap- we would run out of this in a matter of months. I only keep a few bottles on hand. we go through about 1 bottle a month. BUT would go through more if we didn't use the dishwasher. Dish washer detergent may run out this week:) Joy.

Hand soap- I only keep a couple bottles of liquid hand soap refill on hand. We could use the bar soap if that ran out.

Heat Source:

We recently purchased a kerosene burning portable heater. It is killer cold here in the winter, and KNOW we would really be in a bad situation if we lost electricity. So, we purchased a heater and a few gallons of kerosene. We've tried it, and it's great. Heats super efficiently. Next, we need to stock up on kerosene.

Next months challege: 72- hour kit

Week 4

Fridge looking a little bare. We are down to about 1 1/2 dozen eggs, no milk, no fresh veggies or fruit except some onions, leeks, and lemons. Freezer is depleting as well. We have a few bags of frozen veggies, one loaf of bread, no ground beef, a turkey breast, a few chicken breasts, and some frozen beef tips. Cold cereal is almost gone as well. All in all, meals are becoming a little more challenging to put together. We opened several of our freeze-dried and dehydrated cans. The freeze dried peaches are a winner- they were half gone the day we opened them. TVP chicken strips are a good snack food- my daughter LOVES them. They work in stir-fry as well. Banana slices, getting old- no-one wants to eat them anymore. Freeze-dried peas- GOOD. We've just snacked on them, I haven't tried to rehydrate them yet. Dehydrated mushrooms- AWESOME if you like fresh mushrooms. We've actually run out! I'll never buy canned mushrooms again. These wonders hydrate just like a fresh mushroom and taste WONDERFUL. Definitely a keeper. Dehydrated spinach- haven't tried yet. I will though soon. I'm dying for something green to eat!

Eggs- I LOVE fresh eggs. I have several versions of powdered eggs- scrambled and whole. I've used the whole powdered eggs in baking, with minimal variance from fresh egg use. This is the powdered scrambled egg. It cooks up great, and is very simple. My kids haven't noticed a difference yet. I can. It has a slightly salty, not-a-fresh-egg taste. It's tolerable. Not my favorite though. Maybe we'll try another brand to see if there are better options. Too bad we don't have a hen:). But we rely on eggs for many breakfast meals.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

March Madness: Week 2

I thought I'd better include a picture of the pantry as well. Here it is at the beginning of week 2. I also want to be accurate- I have a deep chest freezer in the garage as well. Fridge. Shelves are starting to show...some a little bare, but still plenty of food.

This week I fulfilled a goal of mine- I learned how to make tortillas (whole wheat ones to boot!). They were super easy and good. I found the recipe here.

Also, with all ingredients on hand, I successfully made my son's birthday cake! Yes, it does have a cow-pie theme;)

So far this challenge hasn't changed our routine at all. It feels normal. We are using powdered milk (which I have learned that there are MUCH better tasting powdered milks out there- some taste just like fresh milk- if you need brands, let me know and I'd be happy to share). Dinners have been pretty easy and breakfasts as well. Lunches are always hard for kids don't care for left-overs very much.
Also, I am pretty sure of a few areas we will be low if not completely depleted by the end of the month:
1. Dishwasher detergent (Shane's gonna be less than thrilled about that one...)
2. Zip-lock sandwich baggies (hopefully enough Saran wrap will make up for that)
3. Garbage liners (since we aren't shopping, we are not replenishing our grocery bag supply to use as garbage liners)
4. Feminine hygiene (sorry, you are really getting to know me...but I want to be REAL)

March Madness: Week 1

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am all about preparation in many ways! This has stretched into the area of emergency preparation. Over the last 4 years or so, I have collected and organized a large amount of food, dry goods, and home essentials to provide us with a satisfying independence. The goal: to be self-sufficient for months, and eventually years. As an immensely blessed American society, we rely on our retail network HEAVILY. We are, for the most part, dependent on it. Many of us, rely on stores to feed ourselves and our families on a daily basis. I challenged myself to count how many times I went the the store in a week. My typical goal is once or less- but more often than not I go two or three times. I venture to say that there are many that do much more than that. How many times have you run out of diapers at 6pm on a Saturday night? Or realize you are totally out of milk, and your kids will only eat cold cereal for breakfast with milk? Do you have to make the run? I do, often.

So, our March Madness is this: We will rely solely on the contents within our home for food and household items for the entire month of March. The only exclusion will be fuel.

To document the process, I will post a picture of our fridge at the start of each week. I also, will be documenting our daily meals (I won't be posting those).

March 1st:

Does the chaos of the fridge alarm you? It does me...:)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

My Little Alien's

Brinly and Cade went to a "Space"-themed birthday party of a friend.
They went as aliens...pretty darn cute ones.

Cade and his weird self.

Brinly with her lushous eyelashes. Adelle had to get in on it. She has one little sparkle on her right check...its kinda dangling there, but she's proud!