Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Seven Day Challenge Has Begun!

Yesterday the Seven Day Challenge sponsored by the gals over at Food Storage Made Easy started! For some reason I didn't get the e-mail in the morning, so I didn't find out until I checked my google reader later in the day.

Seven Day Challenge - Day 1 (Wednesday)
~ Economic Crisis ~
Global Food Shortage

Today’s Tasks:
·         Cook all your meals and snacks using only pantry foods
·         Make a complete meal plan for 7 days (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) using ONLY ingredients you already have in your storage
·         Do an inventory to determine how long your food supply will last you (use our 3 month supply and long term calculators to help
·         SHARING TIME: Take a picture of your meal plan (or type it up) and share iton our Facebook page or in the blog comments
Today’s Limitations:
·         For this day, and ALL days of the challenge: no spending money, no going to stores, and no restaurants
·         You cannot use any fridge or freezer food (assume it has been used up)
·         You cannot use fresh produce from your garden (pretend it’s winter)
·         You cannot use fresh eggs even if you have chickens (someone stole them)
Advanced Tasks:
·         Make a meal plan for 30 days instead of just 7
·         Add a dessert to your menu tonight as well
·         A huge thunderstorm also struck today and your power is out all day. Cook all meals without power!

Here's my meal plan:

Day 1
B- Pancakes w/ syrup & freeze-dried strawberries
L – PB& J w/ homemade bread
D – Sloppy Joe on Toast w/ freeze-dried peppers and onions
Day 2
B – Beans on toast w/ applesauce
L – leftovers (we almost always eat leftovers for lunch)
D – Pasta w/ meat sauce & canned green beans (or freeze-dried)
Day 3
B – Homemade Instant Oatmeal w/ raisins
L – PB & J
D – BBQ Chicken on bread w/ freeze dried green peas
Day 4
B – scrambled eggs (dehydrated) w/ TVP bacon & toast w/ canned peaches
L – Tuna sandwiches or on crackers
D – ABC soup mix w/ freeze-dried chicken and veggies
Day 5
B – Homemade instant oatmeal w/ dehydrated apples
L – Leftovers
D – Salmon Loaf using canned salmon
Day 6
B – Cold cereal with rice or almond milk (shelf stable)
L – PB&J
D – Black beans & rice w/ diced tomatoes
Day 7
B – 9 grain cracked cereal w/ maple syrup
L – leftovers
D – Chili & Cornbread

After each day's experience, we are supposed to fill out a "report card" to see how we did and where we can improve. Here is what I learned:

Need to Buy:
I didn't have the opportunity to make meals and snacks only from food storage  and nothing from the fridge because I didn't find out until after dinner. Blast it! But, I did do the exercise of making a complete meal plan for 7 days. I still need to figure out how much we have in our food storage. I'm guesstimating about 1 - 2 months worth of food? If we go without a lot of stuff. And I do a lot of baking. 

One thing I learned was that I do not have enough snacks that my kids like to last a week! I also need crackers, more condiments, and some sort of freeze dried or canned cheese. If we can't use anything in our fridge, or we had hypothetically run out I would most miss cheese. I have powdered butter, but I think I would like some canned butter too. (Canning your own is not safe!) I think we need more canned or freeze dried meats. I loved canned salmon, but we've been using it and haven't replaced what we used, so I think we'd run out fairly quickly. 

I'd also like to stock up on more shelf stable milk. My son drinks rice milk and my husband shouldn't drink cows milk, but he does, because it's easy. I would much rather drink shelf stable rice or almond milk than powdered milk any day. Since that's the case, we should really have a good stock of it. 

Need to Do:
Things I need to do an inventory to know how long the food we have would last. We have a lot of staples, but not a lot of the extra stuff that would make life a little nicer and easier.

It would be handy to create at least 2 weeks worth of bag meals - meals that have everything needed to make it including the water all in one bag. If I had to make something from scratch under a stressful situation, having some meals already put together would ease a lot of stress. 

Need to Learn:
To add some fresh food to our diet I can use some things from our garden, but if it's winter time I would like to actually know how to do some sprouting. I've taken a class about it and have some information, but I actually need to just do it.

I'm fairly confident in my skills to be flexible and creative and thrifty with our meals if a situation like this actually happened, but it would be good to expand my recipe repertoire for making food storage meals. Reviewing recipes I already have and trying some out would be good! (preparing with and without power)

My daughter and I need to learn how to drink shelf stable milk on a regular basis. My daughter is 2 and loves drinking cow milk, but if there's an emergency and we couldn't get milk after we'd run out, she would be one unhappy toddler! If she could learn to drink rice milk too, then it wouldn't be as traumatic. 

On to the next challenge!

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