Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Eat Down the Larder Challenge 2015

I can give up if it's not working, right?

So, Erica, over at Northwest Edibles, has decided to make her Eat from the Larder Challenge an annual thing ... I guess. Well, anyway, she started it last year, and she's doing it again this year.

Last year Deus Ex Machina and I weren't in the right place (mostly mentally) to participate in the challenge, although we probably had the food. There was a lot of stuff going on, including Deus Ex Machina having just started a new job, and our need to find a contractor to do some repairs on our house (which we're still working on - and for the record, it's not just "home improvements" - although it's certainly that - but rather it was a repair, as we had a leaky roof that was too serious for just putting down new shingles, a door that wouldn't open, because it was improperly installed to begin with, and mold. Yep).

This year is a new year, and when I proposed the idea to Deus Ex Machina, he was actually interested in giving it a go. Wow! Right.

So, I forged right ahead, and we're in! We got a late start. Deus Ex Machina was traveling last week (he got home on Saturday night), and so we didn't "officially" start until Monday, but we're really excited to see how well we do, although there are a few areas where I can see that we're already going to be lacking.

First, though, our rules:
  • No buying groceries for the month of April. In spite of raising all of our own chicken and having a respectable garden each year, we still spend a lot at the grocery store. We eat well and never skimp on getting exactly the food we want to eat, which means we spend a lot on organic/fair trade foods, and yes, we still do buy groceries, which is what makes this challenge even more exciting, but it will definitely test our food storage.
  • We can use any food that is already here at the house, was "on order" before the challenge started, is foraged, or is given to us, that is, if we are invited to dinner, we can feel free to go without guilt. That box of Girl Scout cookies my sister-in-law gave us today is also allowed.
  • There will be no last minute purchases to "stock up", and this one I may regret.
  • Beverages are excepted, including milk purchased from our local farmer.

What makes challenges these days really difficult is that our schedule has gotten incredibly crazy. We have classes and/or volunteer obligations five days a week, and Deus Ex Machina and I still have "day jobs." Plus we only have one car now, and I'm spending a lot more time driving than I ever have.

What makes it much easier than in the past is that Big Little Sister has turned into quite a talented and resourceful little cook. In fact, on her sister's birthday, she had planned to make a rainbow cake. No big deal, right? If that's what you thought, you'd be wrong.

Her plan was to make a sheet cake for EACH color of the rainbow. Yes, it was, a six-layer cake. The problem was that Little Fire Faery's birthday is during a time of year when our chickens aren't really laying very well, which means we didn't have enough eggs for six layers. So, she improvised. She found several substitutes for eggs in cake recipes.

But then, we also ran out of baking powder, and she found substitutes for that, too.

As such, I'm actually pretty excited for this challenge, because I can't wait to see what she improvises later in the month when we don't have as many choices as we have right now.

As for areas where I'm sure we will be lacking, I can already see that the cheese is going to run out, which will be really disappointing, because the cow-share will include hamburg, which we haven't had in a few months, and we would make chili or tacos, but without cheese, it won't be as much fun.

My goal is to blog, at least, once a week to share what we've been cooking. It should be fun, but don't look for any super exotic meals.

Well, except, maybe some of this for dessert some evening, because I was given some very overripe avocadoes, and I need to use them in something.

If you're interested in joining the fun, be sure to visit Erica's blog. This is going to be fun ;).


  1. If you can buy milk, you can make a soft cheese maybe - surely a dedicated prepper has some rennet stashed away somewhere??

    1. Ha! Ha! I do have rennet ... but not only that, I also know how to make vinegar cheese, and of course, I have a lot of vinegar in the larder ;).

  2. Great idea! I need to try this. The hard part, right now, is the cravings for greens (ours aren't producing much yet, especially with this dusting of snow), and fruit. Not *that( much applesauce canned. Hmm...