What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Monday, February 15, 2016

Week 2 No Grocery Challenge


I added a bit of color-coding this week.  Mainly because it is more fun to look at- but also, it may give you (and myself) an idea where things are coming from.  
                  *Homecanned       *Emptying Freezer       *From Our Milk Cow        

Breakfast- banana muffins, vanilla yogurt
* The rest of the day was spent traveling/visiting my parents so we didn't eat at home, from pantry or freezer.

Breakfast- omelets with cheese
Lunch- peanut butter and honey sandwiches, slices of onion queso blanco cheese
Dinnerzucchini soup, cornbread (with molasses, for those who wanted it), chocolate pudding

Breakfast- cornmeal mush with brown sugar
Lunch-  Turkey Noodle Soup (this was homecanned this past year and I can't tell you how handy it has been to have a ready-to-eat meal on the shelves!  If you buy canned soups from the store, you know this already, but since I don't really buy them- I  haven't had that luxury for quite some time and forgot how amazing it is! Definitely want to do more of this sort of thing in the future!)
Dinner- Tuna Salad on a bed of lettuce, red pepper queso blanco cheese and crackers

Breakfastyogurt and toast
Lunch-peanut butter and candy apple jelly sandwiches
Dinner- Ham, pickled beets, sauteed cabbage, applesauce

Breakfast- scrambled eggs, queso blanco cheese
Lunch- beans and rice
Dinner- Pizza Night! One was meatlovers, the other ham and pineapple.  Carrot Sticks.  (mozzerellameatssauce)

Breakfast- waffles, plain and blueberrymaple syrup
Lunch- grilled cheese sandwiches (on homemade bread this time)
Dinner- ate dinner at Matts' parents' house.  Took a candy tray*

Breakfast- yogurt, eggs, homefries, copious amounts of sweets*
Lunch- queso cheese, crackers, apple slices, copious amounts of sweets
Dinner- Krotenmen Spek (bacon) and Split Pea Soup (using the hambone and broth from Thursday).  Homemade Bread.  White cake with peanut butter icing for dessert.

As Well As:

~Oatmeal Raisin cookies (Corynn and Andrew made)
~Hot Cocoa
~Buttermint Ice cream
~Two turkey potpies-to take to friends in mourning
~Peach handpies-for same friends
~ homemade bread
~ about 3 lbs of Feta Cheese
* Sundry Sweets for Valentine's Day *
~Saltwater Taffy- flavored in grape, cinnamon and watermelon
~Buttermints- a double batch!
~Chocolate heart lollipops


       This week I was a bit concerned with not going to the grocery store.  Both Valentine's Day AND Matt's birthday fell this week and I was prepared for neither.  I never bought any Valentine candy but the children are easy to please and would have been happy with heart-shaped sugar cookies, if need be.  But birthday dinners are another thing entirely.  Matt never told me his requested birthday meal back in January so I was never able to 'stock up' to make sure I had what I needed.  I was afraid he would choose something that I didn't have the supplies for here.  Thankfully, his requested meal was krotenmen spek (not sure if I spelled that right...), a delicious dutch meal consisting of mashed beets and potatoes with bacon with a soup course of split pea soup.  Happily, I found one package of bacon in the freezer.  Phew!  Because we were invited to his parents' house on his actual birthday, we had his birthday feast on Valentine's Day instead.  Since the potatoes were dyed pink from beet juice, it was quite fitting!

 I will say, I can't make a from-scratch vanilla cake worth beans.  I have tried and tried and tried- and always I fail.  It is always dense.  Oily-ish.  Sticks to pans.  Heavy.  I had to make TWO birthday cakes for Matt because the first one was a total botch.  The second, I didn't even taste because those cakes had made me so upset.  I can make from scratch pretty much everything but I think white-cake is just something I need to buy from a box.  :-(

This whole no-shopping thing is pretty darn easy when you have a milk cow and have a generally good stock-pile of foodstuff.  I am betting I am not the only one with plenty of food in their cupboards.  Generally, it isn't so much a matter of there being no FOOD in the house, just no motivation to turn ingredients INTO food.    I am still not feeling the least bit pinched or panicked with food options.   It is a total pain when you don't feel like cooking though.  ;-)

We haven't been eating from the freezers as much as I had hoped.  I was hoping to have made a much larger dent by now.  Maybe this week I can concentrate on that.  I am still holding out hope to have emptied out half a freezer by the end of this month.  But I have some serious work to do to get to that point!  I bought two cases of chicken legs for .49 a pound last year.  Maybe I'll get some of those out and can some for soups.  That would empty things up a bit AND make for some convenient lunches!

I made feta- which was one of my goals for the month.  Did you know you can make cow's milk feta?  It's true!  And it tastes the same.  I've been wanting to make it (and have had the supplies for six months) but I was too nervous to do it. As is usually the case, I worked myself up for nothing.  Things always seem like such a BIG DEAL when you are thinking about doing something you've never done before...and then you do it and realize that is wasn't that big a deal at all.  I'll be making several more batches of the stuff before we dry Penny off- the great thing about feta is that it will store for a YEAR!  As you've no doubt noticed- we eat a lot of cheese.  That is because I MAKE a lot of cheese and it needs to be used up.  I am desperate to find ways to make it and then store it for when we no longer have fresh milk.  The pressure would be off to eat it all now.  ;-)  Until I get my much coveted cheese-press, feta will do!

Out of:

I have nearly run out of salt (and I started out with two extra containers!)- I use SO much for cheesemaking, it is crazy.  This may be something I *have* to get because I can't let up on the cheesemaking or milk will go to waste.  And when a husband wakes up at o-dark-thirty and freezes his digits off milking a cow in below zero temps, I don't want it to be in vain.   I may be able to squeak by...we'll see.  I am also nearly out of dried minced onion (also due to cheesemaking) and I have officially run out of my ghirardelli chocolate chips.  (Wahhhh!)


Terri Groh said...

Rebecca, one of my goals this year is to try my hand at cheese-making. Did you have to purchase any special equipment for this? I know most recipes I see call for rennet (sp?). Where would I find this? Any pointers you could give me would be much appreciated. I know, it's not like you have tons of free time but any little tidbit would be appreciated!

Rebecca said...

Here is my pointer for you, Terri. Don't start with feta. Start with Queso Blanco. It is the easiest cheese in the world. It requires milk, vinegar and salt. Heat up 1 1/2 gallons of milk to 180degrees. Add 3/4 c. vinegar. Stir until curds separate from whey (you see cheese curds in a greenish, watery liquid. Drain in cheesecloth (or in a cut up old sheet, as in my case). Add 1 T salt and flavorings if you wish (some minced garlic, onions, red peppers, dill, all of which are delicious-I can attest). Wrap up tightly and sandwich between two plates and put something heavy on top (I use my brown sugar container) and leave overnight. In the morning, you'll have a round of delicious cheese to eat raw, crumble OR fry up with your eggs- it doesn't melt but gets a delicious crispy edge when panfried.
From there you will be confident and motivated to move on to the next thing. May your year be deliciously cheesy! ;-)

Terri Groh said...

Awesome!! Thank you so much for the quick reply. I think I'm going to try it today. :-) I'll let you know how it turns out.

Bonnie said...

Can I come eat at your house?

And I'm filing a complaint that there are no baby pictures with this post.

Terri Groh said...

Thank you again, Rebecca! I tried it this afternoon and it was very easy to make. I'm glad you said that about the sheet because I had this moment of panic that I had way more liquid than the little piece of cheesecloth I had could handle. So I grabbed a large piece of fabric that I wouldn't be using for anything else and it worked great. 1 Tbsp. of salt made it seem quite salty but I'm thinking that will calm down after sitting overnight. It smells and tastes great so far. I used onions and garlic in it.

Rebecca said...

Bonnie- only if you cook! ha!

Terri- I should have said that if I add other things (like garlic and onion) I do decrease the salt a bit. That said, cheese has a lot more salt in it than you think. Or so I have learned. Glad it worked well for you!

...they call me mommy... said...

*Drools* ;)

Jenn in Indiana said...

The best thing I love about your blog is the pics of your food. It always looks so good. Do you use recipes or do you just think up stuff to make? I am what you call a "strict" cook, I make a meal plan every week and stick to it and always use recipes! YOu should do some recipes.

Rebecca said...

Jenn- I do both. I do a lot of making things up when making sure no food is hiding out in the fridge for too long. And I almost always just throw things together for ordinary meals. But I try new things often and always follow recipes in those cases- though I am not afraid to deviate-particularly if I am missing something or have something else that I could use up with it.

I *should* do recipes. I want to add recipes to my food blog. But at this point I am finding that my time is limited to either food blog or regular blog and, I gotta say, this is the more fun option of the two. ;-)

Angela said...

When making a cake remember to start with WARM ingredients, room temperature eggs, warm the spoon and bowl in the oven and then beat beat beat the air into it. 100 stroked for a light cake or 2 minutes on high with the mixer.

Hope they turn out fluffier for you!

Terri Cheney said...

I love soups. That said, I loathe canned soups. There are only one or two acceptable canned soups (from Aldi and both are German in origin)that I will buy. The rest I made from scratch. Now that's it is just the two of us and since I haven't a pressure canner, I freeze single portions (which might look like enough for two to someone untrained to a soup lover appetite) and that is what I eat on the days when John is working and I'm planning a heavy work day. Love the convenience of it, even frozen.

As for your making a white cake, I suggest you take your cookbooks and try each one, carefully following the steps until you find the one that suits you. I did that with gingerbread recipes...and when I found the right one I made a note in every one of my cookbooks to use the recipe in the BH&G cookbook...I use the white cake recipe in the Betty Crocker book, by the way.

stephaniegiese said...

I love your no grocery month challenges! Your creativity is always so inspiring. Your candies look great, and I love the wax seal idea! Have you ever tried a hot milk cake? That is the only kind of white cake I am ever successful making. My grandmother's recipe is posted here, if you will forgive the link dropping: http://binkiesandbriefcases.com/old-fashioned-hot-milk-cake-recipe/

Abigail said...

Hurrah for feta!!! That is all.
(But not quite all... I started using John's 35 lb. kettlebell to press out whey last summer instead of my lesser weights, and it's almost as good as a bonafide cheese press!)