It’s DAY 6 of the 30-Day No Grocery Shopping Challenge and I’m beginning to put more effort into making our meals more fun for the kids.
As I was rummaging through the random bags of things in the freezer last night, I discovered a small ziploc bag of whole bananas that I’d peeled and frozen months ago. Perfect.
I allowed them to thaw overnight in the fridge and used them this morning to make banana bread for breakfast.
While I was baking I couldn’t help but reflect on how much cooking I’ve been doing. I’m so glad we still have electricity! At the beginning of this challenge my husband joked that we should cut off all our power and hand pump all our water to make it a real challenge. Honestly, I don’t think I’d have time to do anything but food prep if I was hand pumping water and cooking over fire. It would definitely take some much more intense planning.
Baking bread also made me reflect on the importance of having a leavening agent in the pantry. If I ran out of yeast, baking soda, and baking powder, I wouldn’t be able to bake much. I’ve attempted sourdough in the past without success.
I think learning how to capture live yeast and make sourdough bread is a skill I should give more thought to. I have the book Wild Fermentation but I’ve yet to attempt any of the recipes. I’m glad that I have the resource in hard copy in case I can’t get online to look up how to make sourdough breads, but I know (as with all new skills) there will be problems that I’ll run into which aren’t addressed in the book. It would be ideal to master it now while I have the ability to research additional troubleshooting tips.
For snack we popped popcorn on the stove. One thing I’ve learned about making popcorn in a pot is that it’s best to do it in small batches. Otherwise you end up with too many unpopped kernels in the bottom of the bowl (which are hard to re-pop without burning… I keep trying.)
I had some cheese powder that I’d purchased from a bulk restaurant supply store years ago, which I sprinkled over the popcorn generously. I think we all agreed that butter would have been better. I actually had a stomach ache shortly afterward.
In other exciting news… I’ve inadvertently discovered an easy way to get my kids to eat their food.
Put it in a tray.
For some reason serving food in a tray makes it infinitely more appealing than serving it on a plate.
I actually bought this pack of lunch trays with lids about a month ago to pre-pack my kids’ lunches to help make the flow of our school days easier. The very first day I served lunch in them… a regular ol’ lunch we’ve had a thousand times… the kids were like, “THIS IS THE BEST LUNCH EVER!!”
It was the funniest thing!
So now, no matter what I serve, if it’s in a lunch tray, with a lid on it to make it officially “special”, the kids open it with excitement and are eager to dig in.
I try not to let the kids see what they’re having for lunch until they sit down and remove the lid.
I haven’t been using them for every lunch because they do take more time to wash vs a regular plate, but I’m thinking that in an emergency situation it would be beneficial to do anything you can to make the food you serve more fun for the kids. For my kids, these simple trays are it.
This may work on husbands as well.
I realized today that I’m getting dangerously low on ketchup. It made me think about how dull our meals would be without the condiments we’re used to. There’s no way the kids would have eaten fish sticks without ketchup to dip them in.
Storing these luxuries hasn’t been a top priority for me, but I may rethink that strategy and keep at least 6 months of the condiments we use the most in our pantry rotation.
Here’s the breakdown of Day 6’s challenge meals:
Hot green tea w/honey
Raisins, banana chips, yogurt bites
Fish sticks, peas, leftover spanish rice
Cornbread- cornmeal, flour, sugar, powdered eggs, oil, baking powder, salt
Vegetable soup- last week I wiped out our local dollar store’s inventory of boxes of organic soups, so we had some tonight.
Have you been able to follow the challenge? Are there things you already wish you had? Do you have children, and how do you think they’d do long term? Share your thoughts in the comments below…