Saturday, December 12, 2009

Days 4 - 6

I'm really not very good at this daily blogging thing.  So here's how the last few days have been.  I've used a few things from my pantry, and I've stopped at th store when I was crazy busy.  I'm learning that I'm not very good at sticking to the plan when it gets inconvenient.  We ate out tonight, but that was planned (date night).  Earlier this week, I did make some Madras Lentils and mixed it with some rotisserie chicken (Costco). That was good for a couple of meals (and sooooo yummy!). I didn't have time to cook much this week (finals week!).  I'm going to try and really stick to the "pantry plan" next week.  This experience, even just this first week, has taught me that 1) I'm a wimp, and 2) I need to be better about planning ahead for busy days.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Day Two...

One word: Someburro's.  This is harder than I thought when time is scarce.  I decided that writing my papers was more important that being a purist on the experiment. 

Lesson learned: I need to plan ahead for those days that I know will be busy (and I definitely knew today would be busy).

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Day One...

I admit it.  I cheated.  When I decided to do this experiment, I had Jana run out and get some milk and bread.  I had just taken the last gallon out of the freezer, so I knew I would need milk.  And I also knew that I didn't have time to make bread (finals week this next week), so...  But, from here on out, it is what it is.  This could be interesting.

Actually, it's already been interesting.  Last night for dinner I made taco soup.  I decided to "morph" that for tonight's dinner into tamale pie.  I drained off the liquid, and then went to the cupboard to get the cornmeal to make the crust part of the pie.  Apparently some weevils or other sort of small buggie thingie thought the cornmeal was delicious.  I'm glad they liked it.  I threw it out to the garbage so that they could enjoy it to their heart's content.  Note to self: keep cornmeal and other grains, etc. in a plastic storage container.  Duh.

Now what?  I decided to grind up the corn chips from last night's dinner in the blender.  That gave me about 1/2 c. of powdery stuff, but I needed 1 c.  So I threw in the last of some Sun Chips.  Okay, 1 c., we're good to go.  I followed the recipe directions (shock!) and added my 1 c. of mixed powdery stuff into 4 c. of boiling water and stirred for 5 minutes.  At the end of the 5 minutes, it was still VERY runny.  Not good.  So I thought, "Hmmm, I've got corn tortillas.  I'll blenderize those as well."  More powdery stuff added to the goopy stuff.  Five more minutes.  Goopy stuff is now pretty thick.  Okay, this might work.  I put it into a deep-dish ceramic pie dish and layered the de-juiced taco soup (beans, ground beef, corn, onions, green chiles, etc.) on top.  I cooked it according to the directions (I'm on a roll!) at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Thirty minutes later, goopy stuff is still goopy.  Not good.  Twenty more minutes, goopy stuff is finally semi-solid on the sides, still very goopy on the bottom.  Oh well, family is hungry, time to cut my losses and call it good.  To serve it, I scooped off from the the top and sides.  As I said to my family, "You win some and you lose some!"  Believe it or not, it tasted pretty darn good.  It would not win any prizes for looks, though.

From the pantry:
Red kidney beans
Corn salsa (Trader Joe's)
Organic cut tomatoes
Chile powder, cumin, salt, pepper
Trader Joe's Corn chips (like Fritos)

From the freezer:
1 # ground beef

From the fridge:
Sour cream
Lite Mexican cheese (shredded)

Wish I had:
Sliced olives

I'm going to keep a running list of what I used and what I wish I had so that I can learn from the experience.  If you're up to doing the challenge and blogging about it, let me know and I'll post a link to your blog here!

A Two Week Experiment...

Two years since my last blog? Seriously? I have never, EVER been good about journaling consistently. Looks like electronic journaling isn't much of an improvement. Still, here goes another attempt. For the next two weeks, at least, I'll be blogging each day.

One of my friends offered a challenge on her Facebook page: for two weeks, eat only from what you have on hand: pantry, freezer, etc. For some reason, this intrigued me and I thought it would be fun to try. Afterall, my pantry could use some cleaning out. After more thought, though, I've decided it's much more significant than that.

First, as member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, we have been encouraged for as long as I can remember to be prepared for future hardships--whether personal or widespread--by having a year supply of food and other necessities. We have not done that perfectly, but we have some basics on hand. I've never really thought about whether we could truly live on it or not. Probably not. So, this two week challenge seemed like a great way to assess whether or not we could get by for a mere two weeks. We all know what difficult economic times our nation is experiencing. The reality of the recession has hit us personally. Just three weeks ago, Alden did not receive his paycheck as expected due to financial setbacks of the company he works for. Fortunately, he received his salary about a week later, and we were fine in the meantime. However, it certainly made me think about the "what ifs" of our finances.

Second, Jana recently spent some time volunteering at St. Mary's food bank. It was a humbling and eye-opening experience for her. Their group prepared various vegetables for distribution packs, and the people at St. Mary's told them that the food they had prepared would help over 1,000 hungry people. Much more of an impact was made, though, when she saw the truck drivers (who were people in need of work) devouring celery they had cleaned and cut up.

Can we really imagine what it would be like to truly be without the necessities of life? What if we really had to live on whatever we had on hand. What if a job loss meant no more liquid cash? What if a blizzard made it impossible to get to the store? Granted, this is Arizona, so that's not very likely--but I do remember in our Utah days there was a snow storm so bad in that we were homebound for a bit (okay, less than 48 hours, but still...) Can we relate to the many, many people who truly have so little during this holiday season? For this reason, and the others mentioned above, we've decided to give this experiment a full go. I'm excited to see what lessons we will learn in the process. I am going to update my blog each day with our experiences. We invite you to join us in this experiment/adventure!