Saturday, January 28, 2012

Confession #12: It IS possible to make alot out of a little

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My husband and I sat down a few days before the New Year and wrote out our families budget for the year. Nothing like ringing in the new year by realizing you have nothing to ring in the new year with. We realized most of our money goes to groceries, so we decided to challenge ourselves and go the whole month of January without going to the store. Well, let me tell you, it's day 28 and I am SO ready for this month to be over. I started a shopping list and it is getting longer by the minute.
We have been eating a lot of rice with beans and pasta with tomato sauce (good thing I canned so much this year). I have been making our own bread, granola, yogurt, and, as of this week, crackers. It's actually been a great adventure for me. For the most part, I have really enjoyed it, you may hear a different answer from my husband.
I figured it's about time to share some of my adventures of being barefoot in our empty kitchen.  

Tuesday: I was having friends over so I made "wheat thin" like crackers and cinnamon swirl muffins. I served it with tea and two types of jam that I canned earlier this year. I happened to have a chicken that had been thawing in the fridge for two days and roasted it. After we ate our fill of roasted chicken on rice, I pulled all the meat off the chicken and simmered the bones, juices, and water for three hours. After my whole house smelled like chicken broth, I drained the liquid and returned it to the stove. Meanwhile I roasted the final of my pumpkin stash. I pureed the pulp and saved the seeds for roasting. I made soup with the pumpkin and fresh broth (recipes are at the bottom of this post). I took the pumpkin soup to my MOPS soup exchange that evening. Everyone seemed to approve. 
The end of my Winter pumpkin stash

Wednesday: I made 2 loaves of pumpkin bread and pumpkin granola with some of the leftover pumpkin puree. I served pumpkin soup with homemade wheat bread for lunch. For dinner we had some of the leftover chicken and rice. 

All roasted and cooling on a rack
Thursday: We still had pumpkin bread, enough chicken for sandwiches, and some awesome potato soup I took home from the soup exchange. I made coconut cookie for dessert (from allrecipes)

Well there you have it. three days worth of food with just a chicken, pumpkins, rice, and regular pantry items. Better add butter, milk, and baking powder to the shipping list.  Is it February yet?
The chicken bones

Roasted Chicken
Mixed together the following seasonings and rubbed them inside and outside the chicken.
2 tbs poultry seasoning
1/2 tb seasoning salt
1/2 tb mustard powder
Fresh chicken broth
1/2 tb ground black pepper
Mixed together
2 TB lemon juice
2 TB grape seed oil
4 garlic cloves crushed
Poured it on top of the chicken and roasted it for  at least 1 1/2 hours @ 350 degrees

Curry Pumpkin Soup
Curry Pumpkin Soup
6 small pumpkins or 5 cups puree
2 TB butter
2 TB brown sugar
1 1/2 tb curry
1-2 cups chicken broth
Cayenne pepper to taste

If using fresh pumpkins, cut tops off. Scoop out seeds (save for roasting) and place on a cookie sheet. Fill pumpkins with water and add a little water to the cookie sheet. Place in the oven at 400 degrees for 60minute or until tender. Let cool. scoop out all the meat and blend in a food processor with a little water.
Melt butter and brown sugar in large pot. Add in curry, pepper, and pumpkin. Simmer for 10 minutes. Sir in chicken broth slowly until you reach a consistency that you like. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with fresh homemade bread if you can!

Fresh Homemade Bread for a bread maker:
7 1/2 oz water
1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached flour
1/2 TB dry skin milk
1 TB sugar
1 tb salt
1 TB butter
1 1/2 tb dry active yeast

Dump everything in the bread machine. Set on "whole wheat" or "normal, light" and walk away. If you are using a timer, add the water, butter, sugar, salt, dry milk and flour in that order. Make sure the flour covers everything so all you see if flour. Add yeast on the top. When it beeps. take out and cool on a wire rack.

Fresh Pumpkin puree
Pumpkin Bread (make two loaves)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbs baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tb ground cinnamon
1 tb ground nutmeg
1/2 tb ground cloves
1/4 tb ground ginger
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup apple sauce
1/2 cup grape seed oil
2/3 cup water
3 TB honey

Mix first 7 ingredients together in a large bowl, set aside. Stir together egg, apple sauce and pumpkin puree. Add in sugar until smooth. Stir in oil, water, and honey. Mix into dry flour mix and pour into two bread pans. Cook for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Cook on a wire rack.

Cinnamon Bread
Cinnamon Bread/Muffins
1/3 cup white sugar
2 tbs ground cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 TB baking powder
1/2 tb salt
3 TB honey
1 egg
2/3 cup applesauce            
1/3 cup vegetable oil

cinn/sugar combo all over. Pour the rest of the dough on top and finish with the rest of the cinn/sugar. Put in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes (muffins for 20). Cool on a wire rack.

Elin Simpsons’s Winter Potato Soup
One bag of potatoes
1 small onion
One package of bacon
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup of sour cream
1 can of chicken broth
1 tsp each of basil, oregano and thyme
1 pinch of white pepper and salt

Peel and cut the potatoes in cubes. Put them in a large pot. Add the chicken broth and fill with water until just covered. Add the bay leaves and spices. Boil until potatoes are soft.
While the potatoes are boiling, cut the onion and bacon in pieces. Saute in a little olive oil until done.
When potatoes are soft, mash them up in the pot. Leave chunks if desired. Add the onions and bacon, as well as the cheese and sour cream. Heat through until cheese melts.
Top with a dollop of sour cream and some fresh chives.
Serve with Swedish crisp bread and butter.
Tip: Exchange the bacon for your favorite sausage or leftover chicken or turkey.
Chewy Coconut Cookies
Chewy Coconut Cookies (from Allrecipes)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut (unsweetened)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C.) Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually blend in the flour mixture, then mix in the coconut. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.               
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly toasted. Cool on wire racks.               
"Wheat Thin" Like Crackers (by Kitchen Stewardship)

Photo by Kitchen Stewardship

1 ¼ c. whole wheat flour (can use spelt flour, traditional whole wheat or white whole wheat)
1 ½ Tbs. sugar (or honey)
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. paprika
4 Tbs. butter
¼ c. water
¼ tsp. vanilla
salt for topping

Combine the whole wheat flour, sugar, salt and paprika in a medium bowl. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter thoroughly into the dry mixture until it looks like large crumbs, no bigger than a pea. Some people use a food processor to cut in the fat, but I prefer to save dishes and keep it all in one bowl. Combine the water and vanilla in a measuring cup, plus honey if using, and add to the flour mixture. Mix well until combined and dough forms.
Use parchment paper, a lightly greased cookie sheet, or an ungreased baking stone. I roll the dough right out on the stone or mat, after flouring it lightly. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife and cut the dough into squares or triangles, about 1 1/2 inches each. Fork pokes make them look extra authentic.
Make sure your oven is preheated to 400 F.

*The recipe calls for 5-10 minutes of cook time. I cooked mine for 5 minutes and while they were a little moist, I put them in the dehydrator. I liked this because that way they didn't burn on the edges. They were crisp and evenly cooked. I also used honey instead of sugar and used only sea salt.

What's left in our fridge
Liana wanted to help out too


  1. This is amazing! WOW! Inspiring. Thanks for sharing! Gotta try it.

  2. Thanks Sarah. The key to make this possible is church potlucks and dinner at friends houses. :)