Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Prayer request... even if it does seem silly!: Updated

Well, today isn’t much of a post but more of a prayer request! Over the next couple of weeks I am sorting through our stuff… This is a momentous task for me as I am a PACK RAT, yes, I admit it. I am a confirmed hoarder of goods. You saw my pantry list, right? Well, it is evident in all areas of our house. If you need it, I might possibly have it. A manual meat grinder, got it. Crystal Liberty bell, got it.. Looking for a recipe, I am sure I could help you out from my collection of books. So the task set before me is quite, hmm what is the word I am looking for, overwhelming but it must be done before Chris retires. Yes, I know that isn’t for another three years but can you imagine what it would be like if I waited until then. Any way, we will be so busy with selling the house, Ian graduating and moving/retirement plans, in general, that it would be just too much. So now I start…
As I said before I will really appreciate all your prayers! The sorting is hard for me as there are memories connected to pretty much everything, whether it was a gift, belonged to Grandma Rose, Mom, or is just plain neat. So at times it can and does overwhelm me. And as you can see we are also in the midst of a kitchen/dining/living room “remodel” as well. Okay you can’t see right now but there will be pictures to follow! I promise!

And here we have the after... and it only took 5 weeks to get the picture posted!! Ugh...

As you can it was a preserving day when we took the picture. I think we ended up getting 7 pints of relish, 7 pints of pickled cabbage, 8 pints of pickles, and a quart of dried celery. Not bad even if I do say so myself!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Puttin’ by: an inconclusive guide to the well stocked “pantry.”

As I sit down pondering what to write, this question keeps popping into my head “How can I translate what we do to the everyday “normal” family?” You see, we are only somewhat of an everyday “normal” family. We are a one income family but that one income is quite substantial. (Don't get me wrong, our income hasn't always been this substantial. For years it was MUCH smaller and we still kept a "pantry" which contained as much as our present one does.) We own our own house but haven’t always. And we shop at an exclusive grocery store. The military commissary… This is where the conundrum comes in… much of my well stocked “pantry” is purchased at the commissary. This saves us substantially as I purchase almost exclusively from the reduced for quick sale aisles and refrigerated cases plus we are allowed to use coupons in conjunction with these sales. The more I looked at it the more I realized that this can be translated. Yes, most grocery stores do carry scratch and dent or reduced for quick sale. One word of advice, it pays to be bold! Ask the produce manager when they mark down, ask the meat manager. Remember the key word is to ask!! All they can say is No, right? We also purchase canned goods when the commissary has a case lot sale as they used to have additional coupons making it a great find. Such is no longer the case as they have discontinued the coupon part. However we did buy in such quantity that we have a good deal leftover.
Now, what do we have in our “pantry.” Well, what don’t we have is a better question! Granted we have a LARGE home (1800 square feet, but no basement, attic, garage, or heated outside storage) but it was not always the case. We store whole grains in their original packaging inside plastic lined metal trash cans out in the “barn”, our front room has book cases which hold home canned goods, and under bed storage holds a lot of our surplus.
How do we do it? Every month I set aside money to be used on large purchases, i.e. wheat berries, maple syrup, “raw” sugar, a side or quarter of beef. We have had smaller gardens for years and barter for vegetables. An example of that would be we have a friend who lives off the grid so I shred the carrots and zucchini she freezes for the winter. In return she gives me carrots and zucchini for our family’s use. In the past, I offered to provide elderly couples with canned fruit/jams if they would allow me to pick from their trees. They were tickled to have someone using the fruit and I was able to provide them with remembrances of their youth.
Our pantry list:

50 lb wheat berries (Prairie gold) plus one open bag
100 lbs soft white wheat berries
25 lbs dried corn (for cornmeal)
5 lbs stale popcorn (for cornmeal)
50 lbs semolina flour (for pasta)
Cornmeal: 3-24 oz
40 lbs rice
?- brown rice
Spaghetti 90 lbs
Macaroni 15 lbs

61- Canned green beans
3-Canned French cut green beans
150- Canned corn
11- Diced tomatoes
18- Tomato sauce
13- Pasta sauce
4- Marinara sauce
3- Crushed tomatoes
25- Canned peaches

5 lbs kosher salt
5 lb sea salt
2 lbs pickling salt
1 lb pretzel salt
Baking soda- 2 boxes
Baking powder- 5 lbs
Powdered eggs-#10 can (opened)

Strawberry jello – 4 3 oz boxes
Cherry jello- 3 3 oz boxes
Bulk jello: (purchased at the Mennonite bulk store while in the lower 48, packed back in our luggage…) lemon- 1 lb 5 oz
Lime- 3 lbs
Orange- 1 lb 12 oz
Mixed berry- 1 lb
Blue raspberry- 2 lb 4 oz
Strawberry- 1 lb
Blueberry- 1 lb 12 oz
Raspberry- 2 lb 5 oz
3 lbs dried raisins
3 lbs dried cranberries
3 lbs dried apricot pieces
5 lbs pecan pieces
2 lbs raw almonds
10 packages Tollhouse semisweet chocolate chips
5- 14 oz Kraft Caramels

7 boxes hot cocoa mix (8 pkgs per box)
3 Ghirardelli Drinking Chocolate, 12 can
3 powdered milk
3 cans evaporated milk
1- Pineapple juice

2.5 gallons maple syrup
10 lbs maple sugar
2 quarts + 1 pint honey
40 lbs raw sugar
½ gallon sweet table molasses

Seeds for sprouting: alfalfa, mung bean, broccoli, and assorted

Chiles, dried- 1 lb ancho chilies
3- Olive oil- qt
3- Coconut oil- 14 oz jars
3 gallons apple cider vinegar, 1 Bragg’s cider vinegar

Snack/Junk Food/Prepared Sauces:
2- Cocktail peanuts 12 oz (unsalted)
2- Cashews, 6.5 oz (dry roasted)
4- Goya Pico de Gallo- (salsa)
3- Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce
2- Gulden’s Zesty Honey Mustard
10 lbs- Banana chips
4- Apple cinnamon mini rice cakes

40 lbs old fashioned oats

Herbs in bulk: oregano, thyme, basil, garlic powder, onion flakes, coarse ground pepper, whole nutmeg, whole cinnamon, whole fennel seeds, dill seed, dill weed, cloves, cumin, sweet Hungarian paprika, curry powder, rosemary, yellow mustard seed

Puff pastry-2
Spring roll wrappers-3
Eggroll wrappers-1
Wonton wrappers-2
14 lbs butter
3 gallon bags (10 cups each) blueberries
4 quart bags raspberries
3 quart bags nagoonberries
1 gallon rosehips
2 gallon bags highbush cranberries
3 gallon bags (4 lbs each) lingonberries
2 gallon bag strawberries
Strawberries, 12 1 lb bags
17 quart bags banana puree
6- Bell pepper- 1 cup bags
Broccoli- 1 2 lb packages
Peas- 1 lb packages
Sausage: sage-16
Pork ribs: spare-2
Port roast: 2-3 lbs,
Mozzarella cheese- 4lbs
Parmesan cheese
1.5 # ground hamburger
3-2# hamburger patties
17 packages halibut/ling cod
Bacon: thick cut-14, regular-3
Sandwich ham-3 packages
Corn on the cob- 10 pkgs, 5 ears each
Corn, fresh frozen- 19 pkgs, 1.5 lbs each

Home canned/dehydrated:
Assorted pickles: 33 pints, 14 quarts
Watermelon pickles: 4 pints
Assorted jams/jellies: 63 pints & ½ pints
Dehydrated: Rosehips
Red Bell pepper
15 pints- canned salmon

Paper products:
Tissues, 12 boxes
TP- 12 pk
Paper towels- 12 pk
Soap: glycerin- 16 bars, Dial (?) 10, 4 misc gift soaps
Ziploc bags: quarters, sandwich, gallon, 2 ½ gallon
Trash bags: kitchen, large
Dish soap-1

Batteries, candles, ammunition, wood (6-7 cord), ace bandages, bacitracian ointment, gauze dressings, band-aids, cough drops, Tylenol, braces (wrist), feminine products, florescent light bulbs

Puppy food, dog food, chicken food

Monday, July 06, 2009

I am back! Okay, so we are back... well most of us! I am going to try and post some pictures today. As you can see it is an eerie yellow out this afternoon which is caused by the smoke from wildfires. (Our morning started out somewhat bright, but now it is so still) The fires are being monitored but not fought as there are no structures being threatened. This is common practice for the hinterlands of Alaska as there are literally thousands upon thousands of acres of uninhabited lands. By the way, we can even see bits of ash floating in the air!
(Mount St. Helen National Park, temperate rain forest, funny how we would come home to ash...)

We had a marvelous trip! We started out at my cousin's house. She and her family graciously opened their home to us while in Denver. It was so nice to strengthen and build new relationships! God has truly blessed us with a wonderful family. During our time in Denver we made a side trip to Bridgeport, NE to help celebrate the 80th birthdays of my Uncle John and Aunt Barb. We were able to see so many that we haven't seen in years and Evan met many cousins and great-aunts and uncles. My baby boy also turned 10 on the day we landed in Denver! How can that be!! After Denver we once again took to the skies this time landing in Seattle. If you ever have the opportunity, please visit the IKEA store not far from the airport. It is such a fun store. Okay, I guess you need to be into European style decor and furniture. And food! It was now time to head down to the National Tae Kwon Do tournament (the reason behind our trip) I was so proud of the boys and their efforts! Ian placed 1st in patterns, 3rd in sparring, Sean placed 2nd in sparring, and Evan competed with a severe sunburn! The final leg of the trip was 4 days spent in and around Tacoma, WA with a short visit to downtown Seattle. I would love to spend several days exploring downtown Seattle (namely Pikes Place Market.)

We are now back home and I must say it sure is good to be home! I feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz "There's no place like home!"