Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Last Day and Final Survey Results

LAWKI Day 31

September 19, 2010

Breakfast: Ben made waffles

Lunch: snacks, sandwiches after church

Dinner: tacos, tortillas, refried beans, horrible Mexican rice

Well, I knew I could not do LAWKI month if I did not try to cook beans at least once. Even though we ate canned ones many times, I needed to get over the psychological barrier of starting from the dried bean. I soaked them Friday night and then cooked them on Saturday. On Sunday, I made refried beans. A friend talked me through how her mother-in-law made them and I started out relatively confidant. It did not last for long. The recipe said I could add more water if necessary, but I felt like I was adding too much. And no matter how long I mashed them and fried the, the skins were still in big chunky pieces. I think they tasted okay, but I was not a fan of the consistency, and I have tasted much better. I am thinking of asking my favorite Mexican restaurant if they give out recipes. As for the Mexican Rice, let me just say that making it with Oriental style sticky rice ruined it before anything else could.

Things overheard in my house in the last 24 hours:

“We have real milk?”

“My trusty egg pan, I have missed you.”

“Yes! It’s real milk!”

“Grapes! Oh yum, oh yum.”

“Hey mom, did you forget what a grocery store looks like?”

Yes, we are done with LAWKI Month. There was much rejoicing.

Final LAWKI Family Survey:

What 3 words would you use to describe your final thoughts on LAWKI month:

Positive, thought-provoking, Done!; Annoying, mean, cruel; Over Over Over; Good, French Fries!!!, Skim Milk!; I hate quizzes; Wasteful, neutral, stupid

What food did you miss the most:

Milk; meat; Eggs! Chocolate Milk!; Beef, Fast Food; Cookies; Fresh chicken, salad, the potential foods from fresh ground beef

What non-food thing did you miss the most?

Freedom, quick dinners; Shopping; Eating out; The Fast Food Drive Thru; Nothing; Driving to church.

What lessons do you think we learned from LAWKI Month?

None; Be grateful; We have a lot of food; That we can adapt, how much eating out is a part of socializing; How to make powdered eggs; Learned to try new recipes and that sometimes they don’t work on the first try, how glad I am to live at this point in time with modern conveniences such as electricity, dishwashers, microwaves, stove/oven, abundant clean water, farmers who grow my food so gardening can be a hobby instead of a way of life.

Did you eat all of your Crazy Shopping Day Food? When did you eat it?

No-ate my Fritos early, potato chips last few days, and did not open the pretzels; No-ate my puddings, but did not use all of the Ramen; No-still had tortillas and Nutella and string cheese (this brand was gross!) left over; No; Nope, but I did not buy any; Yes, finished my Fuze drinks yesterday.

Would you buy the same things again? What would you get instead?

Same drinks but Ramen instead of rice cakes; Yeah, but better stuff (cologne); No, I wouldn’t buy Ramen, I would buy my own eggs!; I would not get tortillas (Shannon can make them J), but I would buy French fries or other baked snacky items; I would get more pudding cups; I was happy about the chips and sour cream, but I would have bought beef and chicken.

What did you hate eating and would never eat again, even if you were starving?

Canned meats all mixed up in things; Tuna casserole, Fried zucchini; Nothing; Rice, canned chicken, nothing I would not eat if I was starving; Beans; Tuna casserole.

What did you like eating and would not mind having, even if it was not LAWKI Month?

Powdered chocolate milk; tortillas; Potatoes fried with bacon; everything; tortillas, homemade pita and tortillas, spam is a tolerable substitute.

What surprised you the most about LAWKI Month?

The traditions of food, the psychology of food; The amount of food we have; How good powdered milk can be; We had regular meals all month; Nothing; How good powdered chocolate milk tastes.

On a scale of 1-10, how crazy are your parents/we for doing this?


On a scale of 1-10, how angry are you to participate in this?

2 (yes! The 10 was finally a 1!)

On a scale of 1-10, how much do you think this affected life?


On a scale of 1-10, how much did LAWKI Month worry you? What worried you?


Worries: worried about being “stumped” about what to cook, worried about giving up or running out of an essential thing that would make us quit; I was a 9 at the start; I was worried we would have to eat rice everyday.

On a scale of 1-10, how much would you want to try this again?

5.5 (2-10s, 2-1s, a 5 and a 6)

On a scale of 1-10, how prepared do you think our family is for an emergency? Do you think LAWKI affected your answer?

8.8 (yes, yes, kind of, yes-but I can see more clearly the holes so it is hard to judge)

I am going to post this much now. It is only 4 days late already. I do have more thoughts I want to write, but that may be another day or two until I get to that. Thanks for the comments and ideas you have shared. They have been one of the highlights of this month.

This was in yesterday's paper (Sept 22). It made me think of when I went downstairs mid-LAWKI Month and discovered that the kids had gone through all of the sodas in the mini fridge and most of the microwave popcorn.

Pearls Before Swine

Pearls Before Swine

And, because I figured out how to do this, I wanted to put this strip in from September 20th. It is commonly stated at our house, and mentioned in a post last week, that all foods can be improved by adding either cream, butter or cheese.

Pearls Before Swine

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Picture of the main part of the fridge: some salsa (no more chips), sour cream, yeast, left over spaghetti sauce, enchiladas, a few peaches, some grated cheese, and some apples from neighbors. The outside fridge has 3 things of cream cheese left.

LAWKI Day 29

September 25, 2010

Breakfast: The last 5 eggs, scrambled (I did not have any because I ate the stuff yesterday)

Lunch: K-school, M-his crazy shopping tortillas with peanut butter and Nuttela, S-leftover rice casserole, crackers & tuna

Dinner: John & Ben on camp out, Ramen and Spaghettios, Angel Hair pasta and leftover sauce or butter

We went shopping for James’ birthday present at Smith’s Marketplace. I had done a bit of preview shopping the day before. Both times it was right before lunch that I left. As I was walking out the door yesterday, I had the thought that I would probably get hungry while I was out, and that I would want to stop and buy something to eat. My first counter thought was that I would not go to a fast food restaurant, but I could just grab something at the store. Then I realized I couldn’t do that either. So, I turned around and went back in and ate lunch.

I have heard plenty of times that you should never shop hungry because you will buy more, and I agreed with this before LAWKI month. However, being both very contented hunger wise, and being hyper-sensitive about shopping, it was remarkable how dispassionate I was when I went through the case-lot sale things again. There was no emotion tied to it, it was more of a likable chore than anything else. I did look fondly toward the produce section of the store, but it was easy to tell myself that it is only next week and I can go shop there.

True confessions here: I am a fan of Survivor. I have watched, off and on, for the last 20 seasons, and now have 2 kids watching with me. Ben is totally into it, hoping it will still be around when he is 18. I remember back in the first season or two, they spent a lot more air time talking about food, what they missed, craved and how hungry they were. The food reward challenges seemed even more important then. (I think now they spend more time back stabbing each other and showing how spoiled and arrogant the contestants are.) I have thought about that some during LAWKI. Do I spend all of my time obsessing about this? Do I talk about it too much with people? Are my friend and neighbors happy that we are in the final days?

Cream cheese bars and cookie bars, made with powdered eggs

We made 3 kinds of treats today: Michael and Katie made caramel covered puffy treats and I made chocolate chip cookie bars and cream cheese bars for the funeral dinner. Both of my desserts were made with powdered eggs. There was no discernible difference in them. I still had butter from the freezer. I am sure I could make both with shortening instead of the butter, but boy did the butter taste good in them. Once again, I think that dairy products such as butter, cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, whipping cream, etc, are the group of food that I would miss most. I dare you to name a food that cannot be improved by one of those things. I could live vegetarian if I had no other choice, but living vegan would not be worth it. (The author who came up with LAWKI Month, eats vegan most of the time. She wrote in her experiences about LAWKI that by the end, she was craving enough of the food they had run out of that she no longer cared if she was eating vegan, and that she was certain that eventually she would reach a point where Fluffy would look good.)

LAWKI Day 30

September 18, 2010

Breakfast: Boys-scout camp, others-?

Lunch: Fresh baked bread, everyone just ate what they wanted and could find before and after the funeral

Dinner: Hawaiian Haystacks with friends

Michael came up with the idea of Hawaiian Haystacks. It really is a good food storage meal, rice with chicken sauce and then cans of pineapple, mandarin oranges, olives, etc., with fresh tomatoes. Our friends brought the Chinese noodles, celery, almonds, coconut and some ice cream, bananas and toppings to go with the left over dessert bars. I kept the canned chicken separate until the last possible minute and then mixed them together gently. It stayed as chunks instead of mushing up in the sauce and that really helped it taste a bit better. I could eat that again for dinner today. It was nice to have an easier meal that was yummy, and nice to have a new meal to put on the food storage meal rotation.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Craziness and Sadness

LAWKI Day 26

September 14, 2010

Breakfast: Oatmeal (pretty much panned by the kids)

Lunch: Kids-school, M&S-?

Dinner: Spaghetti and Meatballs, homemade breadsticks

This was one crazy busy day, with 2 evening school meetings and 1 church one where the Relief Society was coming to see the puzzle on the wall and the new cabinets in the basement. As I am writing this 2 days later, I just don’t remember much.

LAWKI Day 27

September 15, 2010

Today was a sad day. Barry Diamond, the 1st Counselor in my ward’s Bishopric, died after a 8 month battle with cancer. He was just 51. I found that I wanted to cook and eat all day, which is what I pretty much did. It seems callous to keep writing about something so dumb as LAWKI Month when a real tragedy has touched so many in my circle. It also takes me back to Michael’s cancer and makes so much of our daily business and “struggles” so unimportant.

As I sat at my desk pondering things, I distracted myself with trying to clean up my computer files a bi. I found a file in my recipes that was titled “main dishes I want to try.” One was a ham (spam), rice, and broccoli casserole. I had a bit of rice in the fridge, and I knew I still had a bit of frozen broccoli left so I decided to try that. It called for the broccoli to be frozen still as it was put into the oven. I mixed it all in a glass pan, thinking I would just put it in the fridge until the kids got home from school and then bake it.

Just before I put the plastic wrap on, I looked over into the family room and saw the Sun Oven there. I switched it to a round Corel dish with a lid and put it in the Sun Oven instead. I have my back “porch,” all 9 sq of it, and that is where I put my Sun Oven. It was about 11:30 when I stuck it out there, and due to the angle of the sun and height of my house, it was still in the shade. I pointed it toward where I thought it would get the most in the next few hours and left it. It was probably about 2 before I checked it again, only to find that the sky had a very wispy thin cloud cover and the oven was barely at 200 degrees. I forgot about it again until about 3pm, and when I checked it this time, I could tell the broccoli was turning an unappetizing brown color. It was a bit sunnier, but still only about 230 degrees.

I decided to pull it out and see how it looked and felt. When I opened the lid, it was very hot and completely warmed through. The cheese had melted and the flavors blended. The Spam was really quite good in this. While the broccoli on the top of the casserole was brown and not pretty to see, it was perfectly cooked through, as was the all of the casserole. This really turned out well, and I ate bites from the bowl for the next 3 hours. All of the kids tried bites of it, but none of them really liked it much. Michael did not try it, but will take it in his lunch for tomorrow. Funny how in the end, this was 4-1 against it taste wise, but because I am the 1 for it, I think it was a success. I am such a control freak.

James had to make cinnamon rolls for his scouts tonight. We did the sour cream cinnamon rolls that are to die for. It was worth using the last bits of sour cream (minus the one I have) for these. He actually did most of the making on these, until he had to go early and I finished rolling the last batches out. I wonder how I could “sour” milk to make these without sour cream and how easy it would be to make with oil instead of butter. I am just grateful for the fact that cream cheese lasts for 4-6 months in the fridge and butter indefinitely in the freezer. That is my kind of food storage.

Breakfast: kids-cereal, toast M-? S-fried egg and bacon sandwich (after everyone was gone, shame on me for not sharing)

Lunch: kids-school, M-at work, lunch from home, S-BLT (did I mention I ate all day? We had 8 half pieces of bacon left over from something, and it was turning brown so it had to be eaten, right?), broccoli

Dinner: K-toast, sandwiches, forced bites of casserole, cinnamon rolls, M-work, S-casserole and anything else I could find, including too many cinnamon rolls.

Oh, and one fortunate timing benefit of LAWKI month…an empty fridge when the Young Women from church needed to store the 600 sandwiches they made for the homeless shelter for tomorrow’s dinner. I fit about 40 bread bags filled with sandwiches in the outside fridge and another 10 in the inside one. Yeah!

The casserole as it was first in the Sun Oven, and me taking the picture.

A bigger View of the oven and our porch still in shade.

This is actually the casserole before it was cooked. I still cannot seem to put the pictures in the right order!
This is the casserole after cooking.

LAWKI Day 28

September 16, 2010

Breakfast: Cinnamon rolls

Lunch: Kids-school, M- lunch casserole (he liked it), S-tuna with crackers-we are out of bread

Dinner: Bean Enchiladas with different sauce, homemade tortillas

The tortillas were not as good this time, but I had a lot of things going on at the same time, including needing to do carpool in the middle of rolling them out. The enchiladas were really boring and unimpressive. I think now that the TVP in the first batch I made 2 weeks ago made more of a difference than I thought. It was hard to spend so much time making them and have them be less than stellar.

My neighbor brought me a huge box of apples, a small fraction of what her farmer dad brought to her. I spent some time looking online for applesauce recipes. In doing so, I stumbled across a fun web site: It was interesting to see some of the things that I have talked about in this LAWKI blog on that web site. This week the ladies who run it are doing their own daily challenges: no water today, no electricity tomorrow, etc. I guess September is National Emergency Prep Month. And I thought it was just an advertising scheme that Macey’s bulk sale and Emergency Essentials had made up. Seems we picked the right month to do this in after all. Does this mean that October is National Emergency Month?

I debated what I would do if the phone call came asking if I could help with food for the funeral, and they asked me to make a salad or potatoes. Would I feel bad shopping for food for this purpose? I decided that as I would not be eating the food, it really did not matter. And really, it does not matter either way. I would not keep playing a stupid game when something important happened. As it was, I lucked out and they asked me if I would make a dessert. That I can do.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Tuna Casserole and Dreaming of the End

LAWKI Day 24
September 12, 2010

Breakfast: Pancakes
Lunch: After church grazing, including pancakes, pasta salad, sandwiches
Dinner: Shepherd’s Pie, canned pears, peaches

I love Shepherd’s Pie. I hardly ever made it until I started using the cannery potato pearls with it. That makes it so easy to get in the oven quick. My family likes it most with creamy gravy, but sometimes I crave the tomato one so I will make that too. The best part of that is that there are more leftovers that way. They don’t like that much.

This is one of my big food storage meals. Of course, there is the issue of the ground beef, which I skirted using my frozen stuff. I really did not want to try another TVP today. Otherwise, it is an open cans, insert dinner sort of meal.

We had to beg milk jugs off of neighbors today. Though we have plenty of pitchers, there is nothing like a milk jug. It is easier, less messy, and adds to the appearance of milk. We are now back to using almost a gallon of milk a day, as the kids are eating cereal and having it with dinner and Michael is drinking it like normal milk. The chocolate is still popular with the kids. To me, the chocolate tastes an awful lot like Chocolate Quick. It has that mix sort-of flavor that Quick has mixed into regular milk. I predict the kids will miss it after we are done with LAWKI month.

Garden Watermelon

LAWKI Day 25
September 13, 2010

Breakfast: toast, kids ate cold cereal
Lunch: kids-school, S-leftover beans M-I don’t remember-maybe Nutella tortillas?
Dinner: Tuna casserole, watermelon from the garden, bread, frozen broccoli
Dessert: Almond Poppy Seed Bundt Cake

I made the dreaded Tuna Casserole. The kids kept asking what was for dinner and all I would say was noodle casserole. When James saw it out of the oven, he said, “Tell me that is canned chicken.” So I did. After all, he asked me to. He proceeded to bet Katie $10 that it was chicken and not tuna. While it would have been amusing to watch that play out, I confessed and ended the bet.

The reactions were so much better than I expected. James hated it, but I expected that as he does not like tuna in any form. John had issues with the celery (from Katie’s garden as the stuff in the fridge was moldy) so he had plenty of reservations trying it and did not like it. That is the one who most surprised me---he eats a tuna sandwich almost every day, and will only get tuna at Subway. Katie could not eat more that a bite without gagging. Ben was the only hold out who not only liked it, but took seconds. Sorry Michael, but it is 4-2, and we will not ever have tuna casserole again. And no one will fight you for the leftovers.

I asked Katie to pick a fruit to have with dinner. She wanted to try the watermelon. I have been worried about it because I thought it was supposed to be one of the giant, 20 pounders and it is far closer to the little personal size ones at the store. I figured that as it was a runt, it would not be ripe. To our surprise and delight, it was delicious in flavor. The texture was only so-so, but it was such a treat. We only ate half and are saving the other for tomorrow.

I really needed something to look forward to with dinner, so while the casserole was baking, I decided to make a lemon bundt cake. I searched the internet until I found a yummy looking, highly rated recipe. I used 4 of our precious eggs and a pound of our last butters, and creamed them with the sugar. And then I found that we did not have any lemon extract. After searching Maretta’s cabinets as well, I finally gave up that dream. It was back to Google to find another recipe that used 4 eggs and 2 cups of sugar. I finally found the almond poppy seed one. It was really yummy. John, Katie and I licked the bowl clean and everyone took a turn scraping the pan of all the stuck on parts (stupid bundt cake pan). James called it a Costco muffin on steroids. The best part was, I could make this again completely with food storage. It called for oil originally, and might not be quite as rich as this one made with butter, but I think we would all eat it again. I wonder if that pan would fit in the sun oven…

The kids are already discussing what we will do to celebrate the end of LAWKI month. They are voting for going out to eat while I am voting for hamburgers on the BBQ, assuming I can fix it. Michael is really sad that he will be at work that day. I felt sorry for him, thinking he would get stuck taking one more pathetic lunch to work until I found that he had thought ahead. He arraigned for a drug rep to bring in lunch next Monday. I alternate between admiring how clever he is to being jealous. Oh well, I plan to do shopping that day and think I just might have to hit the Costco food court.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

LAWKI Fast Food, Meal Planning

LAWKI Day 22
September 10, 2010

Breakfast: Biscuits and Gravy
Lunch: Kids-school, M&S- leftovers
Dinner: Tater tots, Little Smokies, other junk food

I tried another kind of TVP today. I used a package mix for the sausage gravy and then used the sausage TVP. This one was pretty good. Michael and James like it, Ben and Katie preferred the gravy without the sausage. I would make that again, and maybe even use the TVP instead of cooking real sausage. Everyone likes the biscuits, and they are about the quickest baked thing to make in the morning. All told, this was less than 20 minutes start to finish. Not a bad breakfast.

I took James to the football game tonight and drove by about 250 fast food restaurants there and back. By the time I got home, I did not want a boring meal. We dug into the freezer and came up with Tater tots and Little Smokies. Not the healthiest meal, but boy was it nice to have some “fast” food for a change.

LAWKI Day 23
September 11, 2010

Breakfast: Hashbrowns, sausage, eggs
Lunch: Angel Hair Pasta and sauce
Dinner: M&S-Church Adult BBQ

Our family got to put up flags this morning. After the exercise in frustration that that was, and knowing we were facing a good day of housecleaning, we went to the freezer again and got the last bags of hashbrowns and a thing of sausage. We cooked that up and everyone got 1 fried egg with it. The eggs are past the use by date, but I assure you, they will not go in the garbage. We have about a dozen left and we are all dreaming of eating them.

I spent about 4 hours cleaning in the food storage room today. It has been about 6 months since I last went through it. After buying some things at the Smith’s case lot sale and Macey’s bulk food sale, I needed to get it all in and rotated. John was my helper, vacuuming out the spider’s webs and loading up cases of spaghetti sauce. It was satisfying work, and it helped me to check up on our stock of things.

About a year ago I made a spread sheet that listed all of the things I could think of that I would ever want to store. The list was based off of one that I had seen about 10 years ago. It has food, spices, baking supplies, cleaners, paper products, first aid, etc. I have columns for how much food I think we need, what we have, what we still need to get, and notes on it. More than being a 100% up to date catalog of what we have, it was the process of creating it that was most useful. It forced me to plan out how I would use the food we have.

I have modified an idea that I saw presented at a food storage something that was called the 19x19 plan. It suggested you plan 19 different daily menus, make sure you have enough food to make those meals 19 times, and you have a year’s supply of food. That idea made a lot of sense, and broke down the mystery of how much to store and then how do you use it. For me, I know there are really only about 7 breakfasts I can think of in terms of food storage and traditional breakfast foods: pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, cream of wheat cereal, cracked wheat cereal, muffins and biscuits. If I plan to make those 52 times, that is a year of breakfasts. After watching my general laziness in the morning, even this month when there is not a constant supply of easy breakfasts for the kids, I should probably include toast and fruit as breakfast options. That has been a staple.

I plan for lunch to be one of three things: leftovers, bread/tortillas/pita for sandwiches, and/or beans. That means at least a loaf of bread a day, maybe 2, depending on what other bread like foods we have around. One thing I have considered this month is whether I would need to move lunch and dinner around. Part of that is wondering if the “big” meal should be at lunch and part is thinking in terms of alternate energy sources. Using the sun oven means focusing on the part of the day with the strongest sun. Using any other source means trying to do all of your cooking at the same time, or at least one right after another in the case of charcoal.

That leaves dinner. I planned a list of 24 main dishes I thought I could make from food storage. Some are just soups, some are pasta or rice with sauce, and some are more meal-like. If I plan to do each one 12-13 times, that is my year’s supply. I also plan so that I can have a can of vegetables and a can of fruit at least once a day. That is pretty slim pickings for 6 adults, but that is what seems reasonable to me in terms of storage room and all.

And, because it is me after all, I have planned out what desserts I could make from food storage. I think that is almost as important as everything else. It’s back to the idea that a cookie with beans and bread is exponentially better than just beans and bread. I figure I can make cookies, cake, cobbler, crisp, brownies, pie, pudding, Jell-o and sweet quick breads. There are probably more, but these would give a great variety. One thing I have found I am lacking is in the whipped cream department. I remember using powdered whip cream when we lived in Saudi Arabia but I don’t think I have used it much since. That is one thing I would like to have a small bit of.

I am not exactly sure why I started rambling about this meal plan, but I have been checking things off of the list of meals as we use them. Because it is not soup weather, I have not done much in that department. And so far, I have put off making the tuna casserole. I have never in my life made that, and honestly, I am not happy thinking about it. It has much to do with eating it a lot as a kid, and the texture issues I have with other similar things, such as the canned chicken. The last time I ate it was when someone brought me a meal when I was on bed rest with the triplets. I remember liking it for the first few bites and then not being able to eat much more. I have a husband who love tuna casserole and 3 kids who love tuna, so I predict it will be a hit. In fact, I am slightly worried that they will like it enough to want it again and then where will I be? Ick. Anyway, I will be happy to be able to check that meal idea off of the list.

I have crossed a few things off the list, so I am hunting for ideas again. If you have a great “food storage meal” or can suggest something that can be modified to use easy-to-store foods, please share!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Canned Chicken

LAWKI Day 21
September 9, 2010

Today I caught a friend ‘anonymously’ dumping fruit and vegetables on the front porch. I have 2 bags of squash, a bucket of tomatoes, and a bag of apples. Michael took the last apple in his lunch today so those came just in time. I think it was just an overabundance of stuff and neighborly generosity vs. feeling sorry for us. Either way, thanks Rachael.

I cannot explain it, but I have a fear of canned chicken. I have a whole case that my grandparents gave me from when they worked in the church cannery, and I have some that I have bought from Costco and other stores on sale. The thought of using it has always turned my stomach so it sits in my storeroom and waits for me. I conquered my fears today, with mixed results.

I gathered one of each type we had (minus the really daunting case that I could not bring myself to open). We had a Kroger brand, a Sam’s Club one and a Valley Fresh can from Smiths. Only the Sam’s was white meat, the other two were white and dark. I made Katie and Ben come try them all with me. I did not like the Valley Fresh much at all. The Kroger was actually tolerable and I did not mind the dark or white meat. The Sam’s one was the superior choice of all and looked the best as well. Ben thought they were “not bad” while Katie could not get over the fact that it was not canned tuna.

I felt dumb for my previous bias and fear and then proceeded to make chicken enchiladas with them. They were not the best in the world. They were mushy and tasted off. I was using the tortillas that I made on Monday, so I cannot be sure that it was just the chicken. The same could be said for the powdered milk. In the end, I have mixed feelings about planning for this meal in a food storage situation. It would be calories and especially good protein ones, but I just did not like the combo. I think I would rather eat the chicken plain. I might try later making the sauce for the CafĂ© Rio chicken and then soak the canned chicken in it and try that with tortillas as a chicken taco thing. I still like the idea of the canned chicken in storage, but want someway to use it that doesn’t make me cringe.

Breakfast: Kids-cereal, toast, apples; S- Tuna sandwich (I was making Michael one and it looked so good!)
Lunch: Kids-school, M-tuna sandwiches, S-Bookclub lunch, yummy salad, muffins, pie
Dinner: Chicken Enchiladas, zucchini, green beans, carrots, tomatoes, peaches

I have the back of my car filled with food I bought at the Smiths case lot sale yesterday. My kids are dying for the instant oatmeal and the “little shrimpies” in the Cup of Soup. 11 more days.

Milk, Medicine and Garbage

LAWKI Day 20

Breakfast: Toast, John had cereal with powdered milk, applesauce
Lunch: kids-school, M – left over enchiladas, S-leftover beans
Dinner: Macaroni and Cheese, Ben soup and sandwiches on hike, M –work, packed dinner

Michael took the powdered Milk today with his lunch, and John is back to his regularly scheduled bowls of cereal in the morning. I guess the Morning Moo brand milk is passing the cooking and drinking tests.

I spent a couple hours at the dentist today. When I am lying there, trying hard to think about anything else but what is going on in my mouth, I often think about strange things. I spent this time wondering what would happen in an emergency if I was left with a huge hole in my teeth. I only hope they would fill the hole with their emergency power before they closed the office and rushed home to check on things. I think anyone who has seen the movie with Tom Hanks where he is stranded on an island in the pacific with a tooth that needs a root canal has shared that thought before.

Michael and I often talk about what might happen to him at work in an emergency. He has talked to his bosses about what he could expect from an earthquake emergency and was very disappointed that there seemed to be no plans. They just said, "Take care of your family first." Nice sentiments, but not very wise or helpful. He spoke to the Utah Pharmacy Association as well, trying to find out if there are guidelines in place for how to dispense in an emergency where computers are off line and people need both regular, life maintaining medications and emergency pain relief. Do you go with your regular customers first, the ones you know by site and know they have standing prescriptions or do you give it to the new prescriptions that can't be verified or billed or even paid for? Is there any hope that it will be done in order or do they just expect looters to take everything? Then we get into the scenarios of pandemic influenza. You would think that after the mess with the swine flu last year that new procedures would be in place. It is frustrating to him and to me. Maybe in such a populated area this kind of planning is done at the warehouse level, not each individual store. Even still, it is disappointing that this element of the medical system is going to be left hanging and unused, and that people will suffer so much because of it.

With that, we have tried to be as prepared as we can for medicine in an emergency. One insider trick that Michael shares with anyone who is interested is how to create an emergency buffer with your prescriptions. If you have a regular medicine (not a narcotic) that you always get a monthly supply of, the he recommends you should get it refilled every 24-25 days. Insurances will let you refill when you have used 80% of the medicine. If you do this consistently, by the end of the year, you should have at least a 2-month supply of your medicine. Be smart in doing this and make sure you are using your oldest medicine first, and make sure you are keeping the extras in a secure, child resistant way. Of courses, some medicines do not have a shelf life that can support building up a year’s supply of medicine, such as insulin. But when it is such a necessity of life, it is critical to have enough to see you through the crazy days that would follow an earthquake or other major emergency.

We also have a supply of over-the-counter meds, such as Tylenol, Advil, antihistamines, cold medicine, anti-diarrheal, etc. I must admit that I am loath to throw out the few narcotics that we have left over from a couple of prescriptions. It is absolutely against the law to use another person’s medicine and I do not suggest you do. However, with my pharmacist around and dispensing information at all hours for me, I do keep them in the event of an emergency. I keep them locked in the safe, because I also have kids in the house and I don’t want to be a supplier for a pharm-party. (Not that I am overly worried about my kids---then again, who is?---, but they have friends who have friends, and if word got around, like some idiot posting this information on a blog on the internet, I would not want to be the target of unscrupulous people.) Gee, have I said too much or would my warnings and bold writing hold up in court? One more then…My husband, an honest and law-abiding pharmacist, knows nothing about any of this. Better? Good.

One more complexly not related observation from LAWKI month is our kitchen garbage is not as full as usual. John came in from taking the cans to the curb happy that there was only one. I think we are generating less garbage from food than usual. Of course, there are a lot more empty cans and boxes in the recycling than usual, so maybe it is a wash. I know that I have been much better about scraping the bottoms of the cans this month. I am certain that if food was low, I would be drinking the liquid from every can and licking the inside as far as I could. Nothing would go to waste.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Psychological Affect of LAWKI on Children, or How the Kids Surprise Me

LAWKI Day 19
September 7, 2010

Breakfast: Oatmeal, with sugar or jam or both
Lunch: Kids-school, M & S-Sandwiches, brownies
Dinner: Bean dip, chips, peaches, John-soup

I imagine 7 layer bean dip would not always be possible if we still did not have some fresh stuff. As it was, it was a good way to use the Romaine we still have that is old, and we have plenty of tomatoes. We still have sour cream, mostly due to my rationing of it. It will be gone soon, except for my own personal container. I am not sure if I will use that for a certain meal, or if it will be used as dip for my bag of chips. Yum!

Michael actually poured and drank a glass of the Morning Moo powdered milk today. The chocolate has been a big hit, so long as you remember to shake before pouring. Until now, the plain milk was avoided, but Michael said that he had drunk regular milk that tastes worse than this. I even took a sip, and found it to be tolerable. Katie thinks it just tastes like 2% vs the skim we usually have.

Maretta, my 2nd pantry neighbor, called and asked if I had bread, offering to trade peaches for it. They were tasty. While everyone else thinks they are not ripe, I love crunchy peaches with just enough sweetness to off set the tart. It was a nice change to have with dinner. We do still have about 4-5 apples, which I am letting the kids and Michael have. We also have some nectarines, but they are old enough that they ought to be thrown out. I just can’t bring myself to do it. Same with the grapes. There are a few good ones, but the others are so bad that it scares me away from eating them. But I still do not want to throw them out.

It seems that the kids are not missing things as much as Michael and I. They don’t seem to crave things, they just miss the idea of things. For instance, Ben says he misses desserts the most. We have had cake twice, cobbler, chocolate zucchini bread, brownies, cookies, ice cream and cereal bars in the last 19 days. I am sure we do not have that much on the regular days. Maybe it is the same thing that am feeling, more trapped because there are limitation to what we can eat and make, when in reality, we still have so many choices available.

I assumed that another reason they were doing fine is that they have the choices for school lunch. They can take the standard lunch or they can go through the fast food lines and get pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, or they can go through a salad bar or a sandwich line. I asked what they have been eating and was surprised to find that 3 of the 4 are basically just having a sandwich every day. Amazing. I would be in that pizza line a lot more than that. The roast beef line does have its own appeal right now...

Another thing about the kids. They hang out in the basement a lot, and I still smell microwave popcorn almost daily. They also went through the soda in the mini-fridge down there and the rest of the granola bars and snacks. I think most everything is gone now, except the popcorn. I might have to go and remove the rest of that and see if they switch to the air popper or find another snack.