Now when your kids are ungrateful at the dinner table you can say to them, "Don't be so picky, kids in Jamul have to eat squasagne!" For you word experts out there it is pronounced skwa-zon'-ya (an italian accent adds some flair but doesn't do much for the recipe). Imagine, if you dare, lasagne made with squash instead of pasta. The only complaint was that one of the layers was butternut and turban squash slices, apparently the zucchini layers were okay it was the orange squash that caused great suffering and wailing around the table. Suffering builds character you know....
In the car today, Adam and Jonathon were talking about lunch (and how we didn't bring any with us). Jonathon has some fast food gift certificates that he was planning to feed himself with. After referring to "when a certain thing is over" Adam said, "we're simulating an African experience." So, apparently after 17 years of being told to finish the food on his plate because there are people starving in Africa, he can finally relate to them. I actually don't say this that much but it made me laugh nonetheless. My apologies to any Africans who may read this blog (the internet is worldwide, you know), this would only be funny to an American. And there is an appropriate amount of guilt wrapped up in the humor.
It is quite a meager fare in the ol' kitchen. The last few days are going to be a drag but there are some interesting things I've learned.
1. I'm lucky my husband has a garage full of stuff. I am normally overflowing with grocery sacks and ran out a week ago. We use them for all kinds of things and I thought I was up a creek. But Richard had a bag of bags somewhere in the recesses of his domain.
2. When you can't replace things you think twice before using them. Like ziploc bags or foil. Toilet paper is looking a little low (haven't resorted to rationing :) but since I thought I had plenty it makes me wonder...)
3. We are definitely going to run out of conditioner. This is a pretty big deal because of the long-haired daughters and their tangled manes...
4. Having company is more difficult. Since everything has to be made there is no quick fix food to whip together.
5. This would be a good time to clean the refrigerator/freezer!
There's no doubt about it! The actual preparing of food, as opposed to assembling pre-made store bought items, takes more time. We have 4 little boys staying with us while their parents attend a wedding and they are suffering along with us for 24 hours or so. My husband made a pot of oatmeal this morning (whereas if they weren't here we would let our kids eat the aforementioned dreaded Trader Joe's O's or forage among the leftovers). I finished processing a ton of basil into pesto sauce to refrigerate for later. Then for lunch I decided to use the beans and cheese in the fridge but had to make the tortillas. I've never done that before and it wasn't too hard but the recipe said it would make 24 but it only made 12 (and I was feeding 10 people, 2 of which are teenage boys). Jonathon also made salsa from our tomatoes and I cooked up 5 or so butternut squashes (which weren't ready for lunch to make up for the inadequate number of burritos!) So after two hours in the kitchen we had slightly fed children, a huge mess of dishes, and some pesto and squash mashed with maple syrup and butter to show for it!!! Seems to me that I'm "suffering" more than anyone else :)
I saw a friend last night who told me she's going to get together some people to prepare for doing their own suffering simulation next year. They will have time to focus on their garden and stocking up their food storage. Kind of cool to inspire someone to try it themselves :) Though I wish I'd thought about it a year ahead of time instead of a few months. Live and learn...maybe we'll repeat it again next summer (shhhhh, don't tell my kids!)
So, 5 dozen eggs lasted a little over two weeks (but only because I started saying "Don't eat eggs! We need to save them for baking!"). Yesterday we had two left and they went into the life-preserving food item....brownies. The ironic thing is that Carlee made them for a pool party we were hosting. She made them when I wasn't home so I didn't know about them and they weren't served until there was only one other family here. Somehow they were still demolished (it helps that this one other family has 8 kids and it was supper time!) My friend told me that you can substitute 2 T of soy flour for an egg, I don't have soy flour...but, I do have a grinder so we'll see :)
We're missing stuff like tortillas and tortilla chips because we make a lot of Mexican food, taco salad is made at least once a week in normal times but the lack of any lettuce eliminates that. I made an enchilada casserole with rice, beans, and canned chicken but without the tortillas it was more like soup or chile.
It's actually a little past the half-way point but it has taken a few days to actually sit down to do this post. The suffering has begun and I knew it when I came in one morning to find my son frying zucchini in butter for breakfast. Several of our children won't eat the only kind of cold cereal that I buy (a Cheerio look alike called Trader Joe's O's). But zucchini was a new alternative :)
There is little stuff like cinnamon running out that is not a big deal but we're out of milk, fruits, vegetables, and any store bought bread items. Two more eggs to go. That's a major drag because now we won't be able to make any cake type items. It will all be homemade bread with baking powder (we don't normally use yeast, although I have some and may for variety) and pizza dough. We have plums for a few more days and that's it.
Our chickens arrived on Sunday and they are quite popular with the kids and Richard. They will be more popular for me when they are laying eggs! If my mother were to read this (and I know she won't because she doesn't do the internet :) she would be amazed to know that I have been letting the chickens out of the coop pre-dawn and waking up the chickens! Her nickname for me as a teenager was "Rooster" because I did NOT get up and greet the dawn under any circumstances, an ironic nickname so to speak.
I promised to post a recipe to a friend for the plum bars I mentioned. This recipe is a modification of a Layered Date Bar recipe from Good Housekeeping Magazine. I take the plums, wash, de-pit and cut them in half and then just simmer them for a couple of hours until it's all cooked into a uniform sauce. You don't have to skin them, that's the amazing thing to me. And with our plums we don't add any sugar and it tastes fabulous. Not sure if every variety would be the same. For the original recipe you do the following with dates: in a saucepan combine 2 cups dates, coarsely chopped, with 1 1/4 cup water and 1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped. Boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. So you can do this recipe with either the date mixture or the plum sauce. I double the recipe and put it in a 14 x 16 or whatever size that bigger casserole pan is.
Preheat oven to 350. Combine 1 1/2 c flour (I use whole wheat), 1 t baking soda, 1 1/2 c oats, and 1 c honey. Then knead in 3/4 c butter. It is very stiff and I do it with my own two hands, yessiree... Press half the dough in a 13 x 9 pan. Bake it for 15 minutes. Spread plum sauce (I'm guessing I use about 3 cups?) over the crust and sprinkle the remaining dough over the top. Sprinkle is not an accurate word though, it is really more like plopping. Bake 25 minutes more or until golden brown. They cut better when they are cool but they never actually look nice :) They taste fabulous though.
Jonathon is grinding wheat right now. We do about (this is a total guess but the two containers are about the size of a file box) 100 cups at a time and normally have to grind every three to four weeks. Because he didn't get it done this morning he has to make bread tonight. How they are abused!
Tina said, "I'm dying! Save me!" and "This is so embarassing, why do you tell people about our suffering simulation?" and I answer "Because I think it's cool!"