Tuesday, October 25, 2011

20 Weeks...No Major Shopping...Wrap up!

 WOW...we made it and what's even better, 
is I'm finally getting this blogged about!  

For those not familiar with this challenge...
 our challenge allotted us $20.00 each week to spend on produce
and a gallon of milk every other week... 
the rest of the things we ate, came from our food storage.
 If you would like to see 
what meals we ate for 5 months and what produce we bought,
click HERE and scroll through the posts...
there are LINKS in each post to the recipes I used
and HELPFUL TIPS for what we did to make things stretch.

While I initially wanted to be done with this Challenge 
the first part of September, here 
  I still had another months worth of the staples such as butter, sugar, flour, yeast, cheese, etc... and so I decided to go until I ran out of butter.
This took us a little under 20 weeks from start to finish with no major shopping and you know what, we didn’t really feel deprived at all!
Other than the fact that I was down to the last cube of butter and roll of paper towels and I had ran out of BLEACH, raisins and gallon sized freezer bags, we survived going 20 weeks with no major shopping.
  (here are links to click on to to see 
what we ate/did week by week)
week 1  week 2   week 3
  week 4    week 5   week 6 
weeks 18-19

Call me strange, but, I really do enjoying challenging and “stretching” myself
it’s something that is in my blood and something that is SO enjoyable to me!
Preparedness truly does bring peace!

Here are the things I learned this year...
The CASES of canned beans, canned tomatoes and canned chilies we don't go through that much for how many cans we have in our food storage.
I will never again buy a case of 48 of anything, unless it is tomato sauce, OR, Tuna Fish.  We realistically can't go through them before the expiration date.

You go through A LOT of dish towels cooking every meal from scratch.  While I have a large supply of kitchen towels and dishcloths, 
I did laundry twice a week just for washing dish towels!! (usually go through 5-7 a day and sometimes more), depending upon what I'm cooking.

I realized that it would be REALLY nice to have a few cans of cooked chicken on hand, for those hectic afternoons when all of a sudden it's dinner-time and I am scrambling to throw something together!
(excited to pressure cook up some chicken breasts this week after I get my Zaycon Chicken order)
POWDERED MILK makes wonderful summer-time treats (here)
I used this to make homemade Fudge Pops, Chocolate peanut butter milk shakes and peanut butter energy balls. (here)
We also enjoyed a few batches of HOMEMADE yogurt made from powdered milk as well.  (here)
Love this recipe and LOVE that it uses things I always have on hand.
Artisan bread is one of our new favorite breads (here)
AND it is the perfect thing to make up if you don’t have any crackers on hand.
Bake it, toast it and it is perfect

 Homemade Hoagies are now officially a staple at our house!  (here)

We use them for everything and the versatile thing about my French Bread recipe, is you can make up a loaf of French Bread AND 6-8 Hoagie buns, so you can make the most use out of the dough, if you don’t wall all hoagies or all bread loaves.
Homemade Tortillas are also a staple at our house as well! (here) I haven’t bought store bought tortillas since the first of the year (when we purchased some for Tracy’s scout campout breakfast burritos).     
They were wonderful to make up and use our garden veggies and make wraps/roll ups.  They were perfect to line a bowl and fill with taco salad.  They were wonderful to fill with yummy things to take hiking and they were wonderful made into Enchiladas, Quesadillas or Breakfast Burritos.
 It truly is the best feeling in the world to be able to make 95% of the things your family eats from scratch all by yourself! 
Everyone is happy when the food they are eating, 
was made with love by YOU!!
We also realize the more we hike that my basic Oatmeal Cookie recipe (here) with LOTS of raisins, dried cherries and walnuts make PERFECT energy bars to take hiking and it is SO much cheaper than purchasing CLIF or ODWALLA bars.

Here is a list of the major things we went through 
in our 5 months of no shopping.
With cooking every meal from scratch, we went through A LOT of the staples...
(BTW...we have chickens that we get eggs from, so we didn't have to use egg powder)

150 pounds unbleached flour
50 pounds sugar
18 pounds brown sugar
5 pounds powdered sugar
12 pounds RAW cane sugar
18 pounds honey
20 pounds raisins
4 pounds dried cherries
22 pounds wheat
2 pounds corn meal
2 pounds SAF yeast
1 pound baking powder
3 pounds baking soda
4 pounds salt
8 pounds rock salt
35 pounds steel cut oats (this is our mainstay for breakfast Mon-Frihere )
12 pounds rolled oats
16 pounds powdered milk (4 #10 cans) (here's how I make our milk stretch here)
10 cans Evaporated Milk
5 cans Sweetened Condensed Milk
9 pounds dried beans/legumes
8 pounds rice
1/2 pound wild rice (made this yummy soup here)
12 pounds pasta
4 pounds popcorn kernels
7 pounds raw almonds
3 pounds walnuts
1/2 pound pecans
3 pounds Almond Cluster Nut Mix (here)
1 large bag of DARK Chocolate Peanut M&M's
1-1/2 pounds sunflower seeds
1/2 pound flax seeds
1/2 pound cashews
1 pound coconut
1 large jar lightly salted peanuts, 1 package of mini marshmallows and 1 pkg. peanut butter chips (these combined together to make Salted Nut Rolls here)
34 ounces unsweetened cocoa powder
4 pounds Stephen’s Hot Cocoa powder
25 boxes of STASH brand Peppermint Blend tea
48 oz. REAL maple syrup
½ bottle of Mapleiene Extract (made homemade syrup here)
12 ounces molasses
12 ounces corn syrup
3 packages marshmallows
1 pound coconut
3 quarts applesauce (this along with whole wheat flour turned into muffins here)
3 boxes of pectin (made homemade preserves)
1(4 pack) box of Gelatine (used to make homemade yogurt here)
1/2 pound Citric Acid
4 bottles Lemon Extract
(6) 8.2 ounce bottles REAL vanilla
3 liters Olive Oil
72 ounces Canola Oil
4 pounds cornstarch
72 ounces Nestle Semi-Sweet chocolate chips
3 pounds Ghiradelli Double Chocolate Bitter-Sweet chips
10 ounces white chocolate chips
(5) 40 ounce jars peanut butter (we went through so much of this as we made a few batches of granola bars (here) and peanut butter energy balls (here)
4 cans non-stick baking spray
5 pounds cottage cheese (we ran out the last 6 weeks…we need to try making HOMEMADE cottage cheese for times like this)
2 pounds sour cream
(5) 8 ounce packages Neufchatel Cream Cheese
.5 ounces of freeze dried mushrooms
(we also used quite a bit of Cajun seasoning, lemon pepper, taco seasoning, cumin, chili powder, granulated garlic, beef and chicken bouillon, buttered flavored salt, dried parsley oregano, basil, thyme, marjoram, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and poppy seeds, sesame seeds)


12 pounds Monterey Jack Cheese
5 pounds sharp cheese
1 pound Mozzarella Cheese
48 pieces of string cheese
32 pounds butter
2 pounds lard

4 pounds chicken breasts
2 whole chickens
2 pounds chicken thighs
6 pounds hamburger
2 beef roasts
1 pound stew meat
2 pounds bacon
2 pounds sausage
(7) ½ cup packages of ham and one ham bone (that we had cut up in our freezer from our Easter ham here for how I do this)
1 pound Tilapia
6 pounds Salmon
1 pound crab meat
1 package Chicken/Spinach sausages (here for how we put them to use)
2 packages Nathans ALL beef hot dogs (had these in our freezer…we stock up on these in the spring to have on hand for summer barbeques...here for 2011 fun)
30 cans tuna
2 packages of Smoked Salmon and 2 large bottles of artichoke hearts
(we made 2 different batches of  Salmon and Artichoke dip here)

(many limes, citric acid and Lemon extract turned into this here)
6 packages Pink Lemonade Kool-Aid
1 box of Tangerine Emergen-C (Kids take this in their lunches to drink)
(3) 46 ounce jars pickles
(2) 24 ounce bottles ketchup
(3) 30 ounce jars Mayonnaise
(3) 30 ounce jars Miracle Whip
4 jars Ragu Spaghetti Sauce
10 cans stewed tomatoes/tomato sauce
1 pound frozen peas
2 bottles salsa
2 boxes Sunbelt brand Fruit & Nut Granola Cereal
2 boxes ZOOM cereal (this is what we used for breakfast when we went backpacking)
4 packages dry Ranch Dressing Mix (used to make Ranch Popcorn here)
31 packages Doublemint Gum
2 bags of 200 Menthol cough drops
4 bags Tortilla chips (we ran out the last 8 weeks…wish we had a way to make homemade tortilla chips
(1) 28 package individual chips
50 pounds of onions
25 pounds of potatoes
1/2 bag charcoal briquettes

(we also went through a few cans each of pineapple tidbits, olives, diced green chilies, canned beans, Tomato and Cream of Chicken Soup, bean sprouts, water chestnuts and chow mein noodles...ALSO, a few packages of Ramen for our backpacker meals).

(I lost track of how many pounds of frozen fruits/berries we used for our smoothies,)


(6) 56 ounce containers Soft Soap
(1) 56 ounce container Soft Soap for our bathroom dispenser in our shower (here)
66 ounces shampoo
66 ounces conditioner
52 ounces hair gel
99 ounces hair spray
1 box of hair highlighting kit (here how we use this)
6 bottles of deodorant
10 tubes of Chap stick
(2) 20 ounce bottles Curel lotion
40 rolls paper towels
76 rolls toilet paper
5 boxes PUFFS tissues
72 count box of tampons/(1) 18 count box maxi-pads
2 boxes of each sandwich and snack sized bags
4 boxes of each gallon and quart sized bags
(1) 100 count box of bread bags
(1) 75 ft. box aluminum foil
(1) 75 ft box waxed paper
½ box Plastic Wrap
1 box Q-tips
1 large bag cotton balls
1 package small Dixie Cups for the bathroom
32 oz. mouth wash
3 tubes toothpaste
(3) 100 ounce jugs laundry soap
1 gallon bleach
30 ounces Spray and Wash
2 boxes Borax
165 dishwasher soap drops
46 oz. Jet Dri
64 ounces Glass Plus
1 large can AJAX
18 ounces 409 cleaner
22 ounces hardwood floor cleaner
60 ounces Bathroom/Toilet cleaner
60 ounces Shower Cleaner
72 ounces Hydrogen Peroxide
10 gallons vinegar (we went through so much as I use it in my dishwasher since we have hard water)
1 box Bounce sheets
120 kitchen garbage bags
45 outside garbage bags
2 gallons CAR oil
Oil filters (for changing car oil)
2 gallons windshield washer cleaner
YES, you can eat REALLY well on your food storage...
YES, you can live on your food storage and LOVE it! 

So grateful to have had another opportunity to “Stretch” and to put this wonderful quote by Percy Cerutty to the test once again…

"You only ever grow as a human being
if you're outside your comfort zone”.


Garden of Egan said...

I have been looking forward to this post!
I am amazed at everything you created. Cooking from scratch is a lot of work, but so worth it. There is nothing more inviting than a good meal.

Love all the pictures.
LOVE the list you kept. Great inventory. I find that I'm not using the canned beans like I thought I would. Soaking your own is so much better.

Yes, your hoagie buns are the best! They tasted so good and it was such a treat to have you drop by with some of your delicious treats. The cookies didn't last long.

Again, thanks for being so inspiring for me to do better.

Connie said...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
I love that you have the link to your recipes on this post too!
What can I say? You're the best inspiration I have ever had. It's time I did the same thing.

Love your new family photo in your header.

Cherie said...

Kimmie I do not have enough words...seriously!!
You are simply AMAZING!! I mean really amazing!!
That you are able to do this, that you kept track - Holy Batman - I was looking at that list and I wish I was so organized.
I don't know how you do what you do but I DO know this - it is a gift and it is a talent and I thank you so much for sharing it with us. I have been using more and more of your recipes because they do use what I have in my cupboards and in my storage and they are just yummy!
Love you girl - You Rock!

Sandra said...

I've been following you! This has been amazing. I've also been using a lot of recipes you use. my family always loves them. You are amazing, wait to go.

I'm wondering if I missed something...how do you store the large amount of cheese and butter you use. Or are these something you purchase. I'd love to give this a try for a month, and move forward from there.


Jandawoman said...

I am amazed at how good you keep track of everything! I love your blog. So fun to see what it cooking!

Doran & Jody said...

Ohhh to be as talented and dedicated as you!!! I would love to have you stay with me for a few weeks to learn me all this stuff!!

I am a pro with a can opener and box cutter. But this fresh, delish stuff...if only in my dreams.

sweetjeanette said...

Oh my goodness! I love you!!! Serious blog crush here! I'm now a follower. (Saw your link on Homemade Living Frugally's facebook page to your challenge) So, when do you think you'll be doing another challenge?!? Hmm???? LOL I think this would be a fun challenge. I've only done 10.00 challenge for a couple of weeks, so this would be a huge step for me. ;-)