Monday, June 27, 2011

It's Over and Thank You

My parents returned from China today.  And I went to Costco.  I am officially done with my little experiment. I didn't quite make it 12 weeks but then we did move in the middle of things.  I want to thank all (20) of you readers.  I enjoyed your comments and hope you enjoyed my zany attempt to eat what was in my cupboards.  I have learned a lot and will continue to incorporate a lot of food storage into our regular everyday eating.  Here are a few thoughts about what I have learned:

  1. Don't move in the middle of trying to live off your food storage.  I keep thinking that if there really were some kind of disaster that prevented me from going to the store and that same disaster drove me from my home that I would be in big trouble.
  2. My family is very tolerant of my cooking.
  3. If you have a baby, plan food storage for baby.
  4. I don't like tomato powder.
  5. Remembering to take pictures of my food is hard when you are hungry.  I also learned that I am not a very good photographer.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Kind Gift

I recently received a kind gift from my best friend, Fiona.  I have been postponing blogging about it because I didn't take a picture of it.

Needing to rotate some old food storage, Fiona decided to give it to me instead so I could blog about it.  I have rewarded her kindness with procrastination.  Sorry, Fi.

Here is what she gave me:

  • 1 can powdered eggs
  • 1 can butter powder
  • 1 can shortening
  • 1 can spaghetti
  • 2 cans instant potatoes
  • 1 can dehydrated carrots
  • 1 can dehydrated onions
I am most excited about the eggs and the onions because I know I will use those right away.  I plan on using the eggs to make a Swedish pancake mix for quick breakfasts.  I want to use the shortening to try and perfect a whole wheat tortilla.  The pasta and potatoes will go into some kind of dinners.  As for the carrots, do you think I could use them in a carrot cake?

What We Ate for Dinner: Crock Pot Chicken Mole

I saw this crock pot chicken mole a few weeks ago, but I thought I would have to wait for grocery shopping because I was short on ingredients.  FridayI decided to make it anyway and see what I could come up with.  My problems were the raisins, chili in adobo sauce and the chili powder.  I substituted dates, a can of green chilis and some additional spices.  Also, because I still haven't found all my spices from the move, I used whole coriander and cumin seeds.  I thought it was pretty tasty, but I would have liked to have some sour cream.

Here is what I threw in the crock pot (6 hours on low):

1 chopped onion
1/2 cup dehydrated dates, rehydrated and chopped
1 c. water from rehydrating the dates
1 T. chopped garlic
2 T. black sesame seeds
1 can chopped green chilis
1  27 oz. can of tomatoes, which I smashed a bit
3 T. sugar
1 t. cinnamon
3 t. cumin seed
1 t. red pepper flakes
1 t. oregano
2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. coriander seed
1/8 t. nutmeg
3 T. cocoa powder
2 large chicken breasts

Friday, June 24, 2011

What We Ate for Dinner: Linguine and Eggs

I got the idea to poach eggs in tomato sauce from my friend, Chef Tess.  I have been meaning to do this for some time.  Last night was the night!  I served mine with linguine because I was hungry.  All you do is plop those eggs into the sauce and cover until cooked.  Super easy.  Super delicious.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

What We Ate for Dinner: Shepherd's Pie with Elk

This is a picture of an elk.  It's not the elk we ate for dinner last night.  I forgot to take a picture of my food again.  It's probably a good thing that I didn't attempt to introduce a camera into the mix.  Kimball was eating dinner without a shirt on (I did make him wear an apron).  Stan was covered in red punch and everything else that was within grabbing range.  Bryce was very well behaved and look just fine.  I wasn't wearing any makeup.  That's right, I went the whole day without putting any makeup on.  I did shower.  It hardly mattered because the only two people who saw me outside of my immediate family were the law guy and my sister, Charlotte (and that was over Skype).

Enough about things other than food.  This shepherd's pie recipe is another favorite freezer meal (although, tonight I made it fresh).  It's adapted from a Rachel Ray.

1 lb. ground elk (or beef)
1 chopped onion
1 tsp. chopped garlic
2 T. butter
1/4 c. flour (I used whole wheat because it was easier)
1 can beef broth
1-3 T. Worcestershire sauce, to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 c. frozen veggies
5-6 c. mashed potatoes, instant

Brown meat with onions and garlic in large skillet or wok.  Move meat to one side of pan, add butter.  Add flour to butter and mix into meat.  Add broth and Worcestershire sauce.  Add veggies and season to taste.  Mix up instant mashed potatoes.  Pour meat mixture into casserole dish and spread evenly.  Top with mashed potatoes.  You could serve this immediately.  Or your can stick it in the fridge until about 45 minutes before dinner, then heat in 350 oven.  This is what I did today.  Or you could cover it in tin foil and freeze for another day.  If frozen, give yourself at least an hour extra in the oven.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Butter, how do I love thee?

I ran out of butter in week nine.  It was inevitable.  The rationing . . . well, I'll be honest.  I didn't ration.  I used my butter to my heart's content.  (Or discontent.  Has butter been linked to clogged arteries?)  Anyway.

In the interest of experimentation, I busted out some canned butter that Bryce and I bought in our first year of marriage.  Romantic, I know.

Here is a picture of the can.  Just ignore the dent; I did.  The brand is Red Feather and is supposed to have a 25 year shelf life.

It looked like read butter when we opened it up.  And, more importantly, it tasted like it!  I used it on toast and to cook with.  It was perfect.  I would recommend having some of this in your food storage if you don't think you can live without butter.  The only catch.  It's pricey stuff.  About $7.50 a can.  Each can is only 12 ounces or three cubes.  That's $10 a pound folks!

Given the price, I think we will keep some in our food storage, but not rotate it too regularly.  It does have a 25 year shelf life after all.

And in case you are wondering, I found a sale on butter for $2.50 a pound a few weeks ago.  I bought 12 pounds.  Yes, $30 worth of butter.  It will last us about 6 months. We should make it to the butter sales around Thanksgiving.  It was $2.00/lb. last year.  I am hoping for something similar this year, but with the way prices are going . . .

What We Ate for Dinner: Remember This?

Last night, for dinner we ate the casserole I made with turkey and homemade cheese.  (Have I mentioned I love freezer meals?)  The greens were left over from Monday night and the rolls were leftovers from the pulled elk sandwiches a few weeks ago.  I turned the rolls into garlic bread with the seasoning I mentioned here.

Nothing special, but delicious nonetheless.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What We Ate for Dinner: Garden Greens

Several months ago I did something I have never done before.  I tried to grow food from a seed.  I started lettuce, tomatoes, beans and radishes.  Only the lettuce survived.  I transferred it to a window box container just before we moved.  And it has gone gangbusters!  We ate our lettuce for the first time last night.  Some of the ingredients were the result of my shopping in the past weeks, but some were not.  Here is what we had on the salad:

Sliced pork chop--old
Teriyaki sauce on the pork chop--new
Sliced carrot--new
Frozen peas, defrosted--old
The dressing was a mix of oil, vinegar, honey and some of the teriyaki sauce

Monday, June 20, 2011

Time Out: The Last Three Weeks

Let's just say that the last three weeks have been a time out.  I spent the last week in Mt. Pleasant getting my parents' home ready for their return.  Just before I left we emptied the storage unit.  I now have most of my food storage in one place.  I am going to try to finish out my no grocery shopping commitment.  After all, I only have ten days left.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

What We Ate for Dinner: Quiznos

We have been trying to finish moving in (No we are not done!), so I didn't feel like cooking last night.  We went out to Quiznos with the Groupon we purchased a few weeks ago.

Friday, June 10, 2011

What We Ate for Dinner: Leftovers

Are you beginning to wonder how many pictures I can find of animals licking their lips?  I haven't exhausted the possibilities, yet.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What We Ate for Dinner: Asian Noodles and Grilled Chicken

Remember the Chinese chicken salad dressing I made here?  Well, the recipe makes a ton.  So, I froze the extra and brought it with me in the move.  Last night I use some to marinate the chicken legs I bought, then grilled them.  I also boiled a pound of whole wheat spaghetti and tossed it with the dressing.  Then I added carrots, red peppers and defrosted green beans.  It was a hit!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What We Ate for Dinner: A Kate Hansen Original with Frozen Burritos

I didn't feel much like cooking yesterday.  And our options have become increasingly few.  I made something that I thought was incredibly creative.

In my freezer were some of the burritos I made back here.  I put them in a casserole dish.  I would have liked to have had some kind of enchilada sauce, but I didn't have any.  So I made one up and it was delicious!

1 can tomato sauce
1 can green chilis
1 t. taco seasoning

I poured that over the burritos and topped it with cheese.  (Yes, I bought cheese.  It was only 2.68/lb at Winco.  I couldn't help myself.)  I thought this was delicious!  If you have frozen burritos in your freezer and need a quick family meal, this is it!

P.S.  Sorry I didn't take a picture of it.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What We Ate for Dinner: Pulled Venison Sandwiches

For the first time in about two months, I had to go to the store in order to make dinner.  Last night I made pulled venison sandwiches with an easy recipe I found here.

Since my roast was frozen I put it in the crock pot at about 8am.  I covered it in water since I hadn't been to the store to get any root beer.  Once home, I drained the water and replaced it with root beer.  At about 3:30, I shredded the meat.  Just so you know, venison is not easy to shred.  But I did it.  I put it back in until about 5pm.  Then I drained it again and put on the BBQ sauce.  I would have liked to have made the sauce from scratch, but I don't have all the ingredients I need.  Some day . . .

I also had to buy the rolls.  I served these with carrot sticks and a side of baked beans.  They tasted really good and a little root beer-y.

Monday, June 6, 2011

What We Ate for Dinner: Drum Sticks

Yes, I have been cheating a lot lately.  I bought some cheap chicken legs at Smith's on Saturday.  When I asked Kimball what he wanted for dinner last night, he said "Chicken."  Not to be one to deny my toddler a simple request, I complied.

For lunch I whipped up my own mayonnaise for grilled tuna since we don't have any cheese.  (I know, I'll buy chicken, but not cheese.  I'm weird.)  Of course, now I am out of butter.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

What We Ate for Dinner: Leftovers and Fruit

I went to the store and bought Kimball some fruit.  He ate about a pound of red grapes with his mac and cheese.  Does this mean I have fallen off the bandwagon completely?  Perhaps just these weeks until I get my food back from Mt. P?  Oh well, I have a surprise purchase for Monday.  I had to make a special request from the butcher.  I can't wait to tell you.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

What We Ate for Dinner: Au Gratin Potatoes with Ham and Spinach

This is a quick recipe to turn boxed au gratin potatoes into a full meal.  All you need is some defrosted frozen spinach (is that an oxymoron?) and some diced ham, along with two boxes of the potatoes.

Layer the potatoes, the ham and the spinach in a large casserole dish.  Mix the cheese sauce according to the package directions.  Pour over the potatoes, ham and spinach and bake--according to package directions.

It doesn't get much easier that that.  And it's a great way to get a toddler to each spinach.  Well, mostly.  Mine likes to pick out the pieces of ham.

Now if I can just remember to take a picture of my food.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Week 8 Roundup: What we ran out of

So it's Friday.  As of today, I have been doing my no grocery store thing for 8 weeks.  Technically, I should have 4 more weeks to go.  And today I should be giving you a list of the things I have run out of.  But the truth is, I don't even know.  Half my food is in Mt. Pleasant and half here.  I feel a little culinarily schizophrenic.  Here's hoping I get some kitchen therapy soon.

Bad News

Since we moved up here, one of our chickens was murdered by a neighbor's dog.  I don't know how to break it to Kimball.

What We Ate for Dinner: Reruns

We ate Asian meatballs again. I had some left in the freezer.  Only I made them with homemade rice-a-roni.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Week 7 Roundup: What we ran out of

I found this post I started last week.  I would have posted it Friday if I had been in any state to do so.  I am posting it now, nearly a week late.  Hey.  We moved.
  • Cheddar cheese.  The last of the shredded cheddar went into a mac and cheese lunch.
  • Chicken.  The two chicken breasts I started out with were sacrificed this week to the Chinese chicken salad.
  • Rice Sticks.  Also went into the Chinese chicken salad.
  • Onion.  My last non-dehydrated onion went into the Elk Lo Mein.
  • Turkey.  The boneless roast I bought went into a turkey dinner, tacos, a spaghetti casserole and a pot pie.
  • Canned beans.  Can you believe it?  Well, there is one can of butter beans, but those are going into bread.  I think I also have a can or two of green beens.  I also have dried beans, so not to worry too much.  And once we get our stuff out of our storage unit, I will have 50 pounds of pinto beans. 
  • Corn.  The last of the frozen corn went into the chili.
  • Chili powder.  You can guess where that went.  Yup, chili.

What We Ate for Dinner: Frozen Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken enchiladas are one of my all time favorite freezer meals.  On Tuesday of this week I defrosted some enchiladas and put them in the oven in time for dinner only to find out that the knob on our oven is broken and I hadn't turned it far enough. (I love getting used to new appliances!)  They were still cold when I checked on them some time later.  So, I threw them back in the fridge and we ate out at Quizno's (courtesy of a Groupon from a week or so ago).  I pulled them out again last night and was finally able to get the oven to work right.

Here is my version of creamy chicken enchiladas.  I tried to lighten it up a little by only using one can of soup. It usually makes enough for two casserole dishes--one of the reasons I love to throw one in the freezer.

1 can cream of chicken soup
1 c. sour cream
1 can creamed corn (make sure it's the creamed kind)
1 small can diced green chilis (the fire roasted ones taste better)
1 small can red enchilada sauce
4 chicken breasts, cooked and diced or shredded (whichever you prefer)
shredded cheese
12 flour tortillas

Mix all the canned ingredients in a large bowl.  Assemble the enchiladas by placing chicken and cheese with a little sauce in each one.  Now that I think of it, sometimes I add in a can of beans (drained) with the chicken.  Fill two casserole dishes with the tortillas.   Split the rest of the sauce between the two dishes and top with cheese.

Cook 350 covered for about 45 minutes until warmed through.  Take off foil for the last few minutes.  If frozen plan on cooking an extra 45 minutes, or defrost first.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I'm Buried in Boxes

Well, we made it to our new place and are now working on unpacking.  We just got internet this afternoon.

I would like to report that I haven't gone to the store for food, but well, I plead guilty.  Moving has made it hard.  We have been eating the freezer meals I brought, but I have had to purchase some basics, like milk, juice, baby food, fruit and cookies.  Bryce views cookies as a basic food.  Oh, and I bought a chicken.  It was on a "manager's special" at Smith's for only $2.80.  I couldn't resist.

I have, however, made the most of what I have had.  For example, Sunday I decided to make bread.  I had enough flour for two loaves.  Half way through I realized I didn't have any salt.  I substituted soy sauce.  Since I used all the flour to make bread, one morning I decided to try to turn the roll mix I had into pancakes.  They were okay.  Kimball ate them.

It will be nice when I can get down to Mount Pleasant and retrieve the rest of my pantry food.  In the mean time, I will be sneaking off to the store every once an a while.


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