Preparedness Pro Food Challenge

Update - September 1, 2009.  CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.

Ok, here it goes. I’m going to challenge you…nah—perhaps the better word is “DARE” you. In fact, I’m going to DOUBLE DOG DARE YA to take this Preparedness Pro Food Challenge.

food-challengeWant to find out if you are really ready for an emergency? Here’s a genuine challenge for you. Your ability to implement it will say a LOT about your ability to truly survive a real emergency. The Preparedness Pro Food Challenge officially begins August 1st and goes throughout the month of August. During the month I challenge you to go an entire two weeks without

going to the grocery store for any food or household supplies. 14 days. No grocery purchases, no household cleaners, no produce. Can you and your family survive? No big deal, perhaps? Yeah. Say that after you’ve done it. Then I will bow to you and call you “The Preparedness Queen/King.”

Now take this seriously. No cheating. Don’t go to a restaurant or get one of those free hot dogs at the furniture store promotion either. If you go to the farmer’s market, you’re cheating. Rely on all of your food and household needs strictly based on what you have available to you right now. Do it the entire 14 days. Don’t cut corners. Don’t rationalize. And for goodness sake, don’t starve your family for 14 days. :)

Obviously, a disaster is no respecter of bank account balances, professional positions, or “time of the month.” It’s a true equalizer of all mankind. So, at the end of 14 days, what kind of man or woman will you be? I bet you have no idea just how often you “pick up a little something” at the store.

This challenge is pretty straight forward. It doesn’t need to be made harder than it is. The challenge does not require you to go without electricity or any of your other luxuries in life. Just go two whole weeks without going out and buying anything you need for nutrition or household care.

Groceries photo c/o Shannon Steele

Groceries photo c/o Shannon Steele

The key to this Preparedness Pro Food Challenge is to do it without any notice or preplanning. That means that you don’t go out today and buy all of the groceries that you think you might need to last you two weeks. (Although, if I at least get you to do that much, maybe it’s a good thing. :) ) Interestingly enough, I bet that even if you were to go shopping, you would still find yourself struggling. During this challenge I anticipate that you will struggle with what to cook. You will struggle with eating what you have instead of eating what you’re in the mood for. Bottom line, you will be challenged without all of the modern-day pampering we have when it comes to food.

So, can you take this challenge to heart? Can your family endure it without threatening a mutiny? Remember, I’m not challenging you to go without your other comforts of life. You can still watch television. You can still use your running water. You can still use your microwave and all of your other favored kitchen gadgets. Just abstain from the purchase of any kind of grocery or household items for two whole weeks. Prepare your meals any way you want. Ramen noodles? Frozen pizza? Using the microwave? Fine. Then again I would recommend you actually cook real food during this period as well, but I won’t hold you to that. Just don’t bring any additional supplies into your home to sustain you during this two week Preparedness Pro Food Challenge. Pick any 14 day period you want. Get your whole family on board. In fact, invite your friends and extended family to do the challenge with you as well. Come on, it will be a GREAT experiment!

As you accept and experience this challenge, write your comments on our blog. It will help all of our readers see some of the most basic areas of preparedness which they haven’t considered previously. I guarantee there will be some eye opening experiences.

Giveaway with GREAT Prizes! Photo c/o

Giveaway with GREAT Prizes! Photo c/o

At the end of August, we’re going to have a drawing for GREAT emergency preparedness giveaway items. We’re going to give away all kinds of preparedness items such as an EZ Sprouter, non-electric hand mixer, solar head lamp, and more. There’s a cluster of some of my favorite emergency preparedness items and I’m excited to give them to some lucky participants! The more times you write your comments on our blog on this topic, the more times your name will be entered in the drawing. We’ll hold the drawing on September 1st and notify all 12 winners! You may win a solar light/radio, private consultation time with me, or you may win a food storage cookbook. But more importantly, you’ll gain invaluable insight into whether or not you’re prepared in this one simple area. Obviously, if you aren’t able to last 2 weeks comfortably, you’re going to have a lot of trouble lasting a year. But what I really hope is that many of you will gain a sense of confidence and peace seeing that you can truly make it if need be. You can be creative with your cooking. You can be independent of our traditional commerce system. And you can successfully troubleshoot as the two weeks progress.

The question is, why wouldn’t you accept the challenge? There will always be excuses. And I can assure you that an emergency never waits until you are completely ready. Life will still have to go on regardless. But I assure you that none of your excuses will hold much water when you consider the invaluable experience you will gain from this. This is only a two week challenge. You get to keep everything else normal in your life. But through this Preparedness Pro Food Challenge, you’ll begin to see where the gaps may be. You’ll realize perhaps just how reliant you or your family members may be on the conveniences of our society. Your kids will learn what they are made of. You’ll all learn to think and strategize just a bit differently. If I have a vote, I say heck yeah! Take this Preparedness Pro Food Challenge! You’ll be SO glad you did!

The winners have been drawn! Click here to see if you were one of the 12 winners!

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We have been on the road for the last week, & I've just been trying to catch up on posts. (Wedding in Seattle) Won't be home until the 10th, but am thinking we will have a go at this. I'd really like to see where our food prep gaps are, as well. Not much in the garden, yet, except summer squash & cucs. Maybe the 2nd round of lettuce I planted will be up by the time we get back (and praying our daughter is picking the squash & cucs so they will still be producing ;-))

I have to agree with you. I think that this particular experience was an eye opener for you. Any insight you can get to help you deal with your medical situation in an emergency is a God send in my opinion. Just get back on the horse. :-)

I do can my bacon. You can do it raw, (I just roll it up and place it in the jar and then pressure can it).
Do you have what you need to sprout? That's an excellent veggie replacement.

Yes, the communal meals count for exactly the reasons why you stated. The only time this wouldn't be realistic is in the event of a quarantine or when travel is prohibited for whatever reason. Keep that in mind.

Girl, you're living it up. :-)

Mineral oil is found in the pharmaceutical section of the store. (It aids in diarhea symptoms)
The applesauce is instead of oil, actually, not eggs. But you can use clear gelatin instead of eggs just fine. (like Knox Gelatin)
Good luck!!!

That's really interesting Becka! I'm glad you discovered something like that!!! See, this challenge has already benefited you!

I'm assuming that communal meals also count? Last night I had a church meeting which was a potluck snack supper. I had already made supper for our family, but I did eat some at the meeting. I didn't consider this to be cheating b/c I had brought something for the meal, and in the event of an emergency we would be doing communal meals anyway. The times we've had power outages for snow we've done so. When my cousins were evacuated from Katrina, we did so. What are your thougths?

We are in! Took a little convincing for dh but we started today.

Yahoo! We made it through day 2 but we still have some fresh produce. It will get really difficult once we run out of fresh fruit and veggies, bo so far so good!

Here's what we had today:
Breakfast Easy banana bread muffins
Lunch Salad, fried rice (leftovers)
Dinner Homemade chicken strips, corn on the cob, grapes

Day one was easy...don't know how easy it will be when the fresh fruit and veggies run out.

Well into day 4 and so far so good. The ice cream is getting low and no way is it going to make it 14 days. I don't no who will be the bigger bear DH of me. The produce is still holding but that won't make it either. The garden is producing but not tomatoes, I guess it is going to be lettuce only salads. Other than that everything is on track. Good thing I bottled some banana bread last winter. Its a nice treat for breakfast and snacks.

A canned green bean casserole with butter and roasted slivered almonds will do nicely. Also, keep in mind that the canned fruit you have can actually serve as a dessert. Oh--and don't forget, you can always barter with your neighbors. *wink*

My career is wrecking my survival plan. I was out of town on business two days last week and when I got back I was exhausted with a full day's work to do the next day. This brings to mind what Kellene teaches about when we are in crisis mode we will need to conserve our available energy. Anyway I ended up at the store buying bread for sandwiches for the guys. I am back on track now.

I determined that I need some kind of a good pitcher to serve the powdered milk from. I don't like to use plastic for milk as it seems to absorb odors. Any suggestions?

I need a sprouter that self-waters as I can't count on somebody else rinsing the sprouts when I am away.

The first trick is to get powdered milk that doesn't have nasty odors.
Next, I actually recommend an acrylic pitcher that has a "mixer" as a part of the lid. I like my 3 from Pampered Chef, but they also have 'knock offs" for sale at kitchen stores.


I am sorry about your son. Loosing a child is the hardest thing in the world. How old was he.

I lost a son in 1990. It was the worst time of my life.

My prayers will be with you.

Thank you.
My son was 20. How old was yours?

My son was 20 as well. He died of cancer.

I have failed the challenge.

I have not bought groceries nor gone out to eat was the 3rd anniversary of my dear son's memorial service and I went on a couple of long "therapy" drives this week and each time bought some kind of beverage at a drive thru.......not sure what I should do now. Should I start over? Should I just keep going.

Just keep going Shoshana. And keep trying to learn from this experience. Keep in mind that tough emotional times will set in even in a prolonged survival situation. Try to have some "comfort" items on hand for those times as well.
Take care.

It would be interesting to see what would happen if you had this challenge again in January. My garden is producing, and I've not noticed a whole of of problem with having enough vegetables on hand. If it were in the winter months, though, we might be rationing things out a lot more. Just a thought...

Baby steps, my friend... Baby steps. :-)

Kellene, I appreciate the fact that you issued this challenge and I have learned as much from all the comments as I did from the challenge.
One of the first things I bought after completing the challenge was chocolate. I put it in mason jars-sealed them with the Food Saver, and added them to our storage. I will add a few more jars each week, until I am sure we have enough. Hmm, that may be an oxymoron-enough chocolate!! Is there such a thing?
I hope more of your readers will post their successes and failures so we can all learn from them.

Well we started it on the first!
The only thing that I know I will run out of is eggs so I am going to be very careful with the ones I have left!
I have canned meats and also in the freezer.
I know I will have to make some bread but I needed to start doing that again anyway!!!
What do you use in place of eggs...something besides powdered eggs....when I use them in cornbread it crumbles so much.
I heard of putting eggs in mineral oil but where do you get it?
I have also heard of apple sauce in place of eggs but do not know how much you use.
We are in the hurricane area so this will help get us ready!
This is one of the sites I found really quickly to give you some ideas of egg replacement. I've used many of these, as my sister has an egg allergy. Most work reasonably well. For baking, add the egg replacement right before you are ready to bake and place it in the oven as soon as possible.
Hope this helps!

We've found our weakness is our storage plan thanks to you. It's not with what we have prepared for our family, it's what we have prepared for our animals. We are almost out of chicken and milk goat feed; therefore, we have to go buy more. We have plenty of general feed for the meat goats and the sheep, but the milk goats and laying chickens require a higher protein feed and we only buy 2-3 weeks at a time. If we were unable to buy, we could still feed these animals, just not at the level they need to keep producing at a high levels, and that production would drop off significantly, hurting the long-term food supply of our family.

I don't know if this pertains to anyone else, just "food for thought" :)

I know what you mean! It is hard to store enough feed for the animals.....the last couple of months I have tried to buy a little extra each time I went to the feed store but keep going at the usual time--until I have 3 months worth of feed for the goats. I wish I could store a year's worth but I just don't have the it is we live in a barn-like thing until we build a house so the feed is inside with us! I have really been trying to think of all things related to the animals to stock up on.....milk filters, meds, wormer, etc.

I cheated!

I was with friends thinking I would only be gone a couple of hours, and it turned out to be all day. Since I am diabetic, I have to eat, so when they went to eat, I did too. I always carry some power bars in my purse, but they only help me for a short time, not all day. I will have to figure out some way to be prepared so that this does not happen again. I'm thinking maybe the food bars that the Coast Guard uses. I'm back on the challenge again now. I'm sorry that this happened, but maybe it was just as well, since another time maybe food would be unavailable at all. So, there are several things that I am learning from this challenge. I guess that is the real purpose anyway.


Kellene, do you roll up the whole pound by itself or do you wrap the parchment paper around it? I did it in a wide mouth quart and for 90 minutes at 10#. Why yes. I do have a spouter and seeds also. I had forgotten about that as since my daughter left home we don't seem do do it anymore. Thanks for the reminder.

Nope. I roll up each piece. No parchment paper necessary. I wouldn't be comfortable rolling up the whole thing. It would be too dense and thus not certain that it would get cooked all the way through.

Thank you for having this challenge! I will start this Sunday. I am teaching at our canning seminar this Saturday and there might be some last-minute things I need to pick up for that, otherwise I would start it today. I think this is a great idea and will encourage others to join in! I agree with the previous comments that the hardest thing will be going without fresh fruits and vegetables, but we can do it!

Oooh...squash and cucs. I would be in heaven if I had that in my garden right now.
I just ate a divine dish the other week where the gal had sauteed squash in butter and onions and a tomato boulion base, and then added bacon. It was so scrumptious!

Sounds like what I do when the electricity is off--hey, the electricity is off, so I guess I'll just watch TV until it comes back on. :-) It's hard to alter our lifestyles sometimes, but it sure is nice that the hubby was willing to invite you out to dinner.

BTW-hubby invited me out to dinner tonight and I had to remind him!!!

I did get a raincheck!

Day 3
Once again we had fresh fruit (oh, I will miss this) and blueberry scones for breakfast.
Leftovers for lunch.
Grilled chicken salad for dinner.

Hey, Debbie, #24, I had friends who went through bankruptcy back in the 80's and had to really cut back. At that time lettuce prices went through the roof so they started using shredded cabbage on sandwiches. This is also pretty good.


If you have to buy them at work, pass. But if folks are giving them to you, I would stay you're still accepting the challenge.

What??? We can barter?

You would be bartering with neighbors in a real emergency wouldn't you?

Here's what we had for day 2:
Breakfast oatmeal, turkey sausage
Lunch tuna sandwiches, grapes
Dinner bean and cheese burritos, Spanish rice, lettuce salad

One thing I hadn't realized...people offer me a lot of food items at work...and I had to turn them all down.....

Ah...a new interview question for boyfriends--"Do you have a job? Are you married? Are you gay? Do you live with your mother? Do you have food storage?" LOL

I just found your site a few days ago. My boyfriend and I met through a disaster prep group. I always had a week or two of food at the minimum stored but I didn't realize until we moved in together that he didn't have any food preps. He barely had anything in the fridge at all.

I'm working on reading back through your older posts as well as staying up to date with current posts now.

I don't think we could go 2 weeks with what we have but I think after this week I'm going to give it a try. My boyfriend might end up eating out for lunch the whole two weeks though. LOL. He is such a sissy.

What?! You don't have a year's supply of ice cream? Are you CRAZY? :-)
By the way, just because I was too lazy to go to the store and get lettuce, I've discovered that I actually LIKE sprouts on my sandwiches instead of lettuce. Give it a whirl.

This is day 12 for us in the challenge. Here is what I've learned:
1. I have a lot more food than I thought (about 6 months in most areas).
2. A large amount of the food is stuff that is to be used in making things from scratch.
3. That sounds good...unless you are the main cook and hurt your finger to the point of infection and can't make a lot from scratch because it is downright painful.
4. We didn't have enough comfort/snack items.
5. As soon as we get moved in I'm going to get a garden started back up because we ran out of fresh veggies very quickly when not able to go to the farmers market.
6. I don't have enough cat food.
I'm posting this early because we are having a moving sale tomorrow and an unexpected family visit on Sunday. This has been a good experience.

So, do you have to start tomorrow, or is it just any two week time period during the month? (already looking for a way to make this easier on myself :) This is interesting, because I can already think of things that I wish I had more of...but I'm pretty sure that will always be the case. A challenge like this is something to consider, and I'm sure it would be challenging. Less challenging than doing the same things without electricity, etc. but definitely challenging...

Wow this is a great idea. I'm not saying I'm going to try but a great idea. Thinking about it, the only items that would be an issue with us is fresh fruit and eggs. Any day my fresh eggs will come from the back yard and we have plenty of canned fruit. Our weekly grocery trips buy extra of things already on hand. Oh and Milk..

I'm off to re-read your egg saving techniques and I think I will freeze a couple gallons of milk this weekend.

I'll talk to my wife, maybe we will give it a try.

We are doing serious canning and storing right now. A friend sent your blog and I am excited about this challenge as we are going on a 3 day camping trip during this time period as well. I have been canning tons of meat and storing wheat,powdered milk, and oats in greater quantities than ever. Food prices increased 8% last year, I certainly didn't get that 8% on any otherinvestment last year... thanks for the challenge. We will see...

Well,this is a perfect time of year to start this challenge...the garden is bursting,chickens laying, we just bought a fresh Jersey cow yesterday for our 43 anniversary present to ourselves and we already often go without shopping for several weeks if we are busy here on the farm. I accept your challenge....there goes the timer for the next batch of green beans in the canner! Oh yes,eggs freeze great--we put them in plastic 5 oz. cups from the Dollar Store (totally reusable over and over),freeze on a tray,then bag up 6 or 12 eggs in a bag. Still feeding last years to our dogs(they get homemmade dog food).

Just any 14 day period during the month of August.

I'm glad that you see that your investment increases like that. Many folks miss that angle! Way to go!

I'm in. We're leaving on a camping trip the 1st, so I might start counting then or maybe wait until I get back to start my 14 days. Does it matter? Should be fun and educational! :)

Fun challenge. I'm pretty sure I could do this starting tomorrow, but I'm getting ready to go out of town, so I'll start later in the month.

I do plan to continue going to the grocery during the challenge, though. I want to continue my food storage work, which I just started on in May.

I use coupons and the best sales weekly at my grocery, as well as regular weekly purchases of staples like rice, beans, sugar and oats, to gradually build up to a one year supply. I have 3 - 6 months stored up overall for food, and more for most other supplies, but I don't want to slow down for this challenge. I won't cheat though, won't buy anything we'll consume during the 2 week challenge.

The only thing that matters is that you do it and that you don't cheat. :-)

Come on. If I can forego my couponing addiction for two weeks, surely you can forego any grocery shopping, right? :-) You can DO it!

What a great idea! Good thing you sprung it on me or I would try to worm my way out of it!

If I can get my husband to agree, I am all in. He loves the deals I am able to get with couponing and, frankly, the thought of going 2 weeks without it is frightening. (Glad to know I am not the only one with a coupon habit ;-)
P.S. This doesn't apply to school supplies does it?

You made me belly laugh with the school supply question! :-) Ok. We'll let the school supply thing slide, but NOTHING that your household relies upon, ok? Good luck!! I'm excited to see your results.

I was laid off last fall and am still looking for work. Give the economic climate, we opted to extend our savings to the max by living almost exclusively off our our foodstorage from day one.

The two week challenge is a hard for families with children. Us older folks can survive on much less both due to family size and we don't burn as many calories.

Not purchasing several items at the store has been 'interesting'.

1. Milk

2. Butter/margerine

3. Fresh salad mixings - (until the garden started producing)

4. Chocolate bars - not for me but I never realized how much my wife enjoys them from time to time. Gents, listen up, this is a Real Issue. Address it. Comfort food is very important in your storage plan. Take the time now to find the solution that works best in your setting. Everyone will be happier.

Consider bottling chocolate bars and chips in vacuum pack jars or as chocolate cake in vacuum packed jars. Store them in that 'cool, dark place' that you read about. Open a jar from time to time to see how long the chocolate bars / chips stay good in your environment. They should last a long time if properly packed and stored.

5. Fresh meat - (we've never eaten much but miss a good burger and chicken on the grill this time of the year)

6. TP - Still have 5 months supply left but have found that now we are down to the 'cheap' stuff, it isn't so 'Grande'. We miss the Costco brand.

7. Canning supplies. We have just about cleaned out the last of our canning supplies with the batch of apricot jam today. We had a lot, but have used it with a our very productive garden and fruit trees this year

We've enjoyed running water, lights, sewer, garbage pick up, etc., during this period, so the experience has been interesting but not 'tough'. We don't want to experience 'tough' if at all possible and know that it will not be the relatively easy "walk in the park" that we've enjoyed to date.

Congratulations on issuing this challenge. It may save a LOT of pain for participating families down the road. They'll have a much better handle on how to prepare and live with their supplies in an emergency.

As a side benefit, they'll get to clean out some of their older storage given the incentive of the challenge.

If you aren't planning on participating, rethink your position. The experience will be invaluable to your future storage plans and rotational routines. You can't pay for this type of an education. Reading about it doesn't cut it. The knowledge only comes from Doing It.

Good luck to everyone!

Your vacume packed jars will last 3 years on the low side, but more like 5 years if you store them in a cool, dark place such as in your basement or under the bed. Go ahead and use your TP for now folks, and store up what you can, but keep in mind that the yellow pages will work in a pinch.

Also, last night I got baby wipes for FREE at Walgreens. They had their own brand marked down (unadvertised) to .25 each. I had a register rewards for $3 so I got $3 worth. These will surely come in handy not just for the little fannies, but for the big ones too!

Our family is up to the challenge, but I don't know if it is a fair one. We have not bought any dairy products since June 1, no prepared breads, cakes, etc. since July 1, and starting August 1 we are grinding our own flour. We've been adding one item per month to work on so it becomes a habit and not so many changes at once.

We're looking forward to this challenge.

Heck, yeah I accept your challenge. We will start tomorrow. I think this is the best way, cas if there was no warning this is just what I would have anyway. I'm actually excited to do this. It will show just how prepared I am. Thanks.

As tempting as the prizes make this challenge, I grew up in the in a farm community and we have a saying, "You gotta make hay while the sun shines." And this time of year is canning time. Taking two weeks off in the middle of the summer from farmers' market trips could mean missing out on the window of opportunity for certain fruits and vegetables that are part of my winter pantry.

And if things are going to be as dire as you have predicted this fall, with rising wheat prices, etc... then now is the time to "make hay."

We just completed the challenge. This is what I wrote in my blog post today:

We did pretty well overall, though we did have one cheat during the 2 week time span. What did I learn from the experience overall?

That our generation is quite spoiled to the idea of having everything we want whenever we want it. This challenge wouldn’t have even phased my grandmother’s generation, and while it wasn’t extremely difficult due to our food reserves, it did require a change of routine. I had to plan a lot more than I normally do (when I say that, realize that I am a planner by nature). I also had to bake and prep foods days ahead of when we needed them.
That convenience foods would be helpful in the event of an emergency. We were not stressed by any environmental issues and therefore had the time and energy to dedicate to preparing our foods and planning our meals. If we had been taxed otherwise, foods such as crackers, jerky, and other snack foods would have been helpful.
That I need to store dried milk in the pantry. I think that the main reason I have not replenished my stock of dried milk has been because I didn’t want to waste it. I now have a plan for how to use it up so that it can be rotated more easily.
That comfort foods are important, especially when considering emergency preparedness. I’ll need to restock our supplies of honey and sugar for baking as well as adding a little special chocolate to the pantry.
That I’m a little more concerned about what would happen to friends of mine if a long term emergency were to occur. Our family has more food stored than probably 90% of the people we know. I told you why we do this here. I’m not recommending that people live in fear or become food hoarders. I’m simply encouraging others to be aware that situations in life can change. Having at least the 3 day allotment of food and water recommended by many emergency agencies such as the Red Cross is prudent, ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN.
While we would not be starving for food for a much longer time frame, I’m glad that the 2 weeks is over. We ended in a time frame where I am feeling blessed by the experience and what we have learned. I have even more appreciation for what how our grandparents and generations before them lived and ate each day. The blessings of convenience have not come without a price, though. In considering how few people now know how to bake bread, can foods, or even what will replace eggs in baking, I wonder if we really should be as far removed from our food as we are. Especially after viewing Food Inc. this week, I realize that convenience takes a heavy toll on our health and the health of generations to come. I feel even luckier than I did before that the people in my life have taken the time to teach me the appreciation for food, for the hands that grown and prepare that food, for the animals that give their lives so that we might eat, and to not ever take those things for granted.

I don't know if I can let go of my coupons for 2 weeks! I'll talk to hubby.

I'm so excited for this; we've been short on eggs for a while, and that's how we're starting out, LOL - 3 in the fridge. (Perhaps I shouldn't have made 3-egg brownies earlier this week!) Been planning to make bread, and as we're out to begin with, it couldn't be a better time! ;-)

Thanks for a great challenge! Looking forward to using our powdered milk in a few days, heehee...

I cheering you ALL on! Not only do I know you can do it, I know that you can do it without cheating. Obviously getting anything from a neighbor who has it on hand is perfectly legit. And using what your chickens raise or your ground produces is fine. Just stay out of those stores, folks. (and restaurants, etc) :-)

I only wish we could keep chickens. Our by law sez no no. But I did stock up on eggs when I read one of your recent posts, and I mineral oiled 5 dozen eggs and froze 5 lbs of bacon. I read someplace that you can your bacon, I did it once rolling it in parchment paper after partially cooking in the oven and then pressure canned it. Do you have a better way of doing it? It was so much work. Its day 6 for us and so far so good, tho vegs running real low, I'll have to break out the frozen ones, keeping the dried ones for Real Emergency.

I'm participating in the challenge starting on Monday so that I can blog about it as part of my weekly meal plannning. Looking forward to seeing where our gaps are in food storage! I can already see that I should have bought some dry milk powder. I used the last of mine a month or so ago, and I have not bought any since then. We'll see how it goes. Check out my meal plans on Monday if you are so inclined.

I am in!
The hardest to live without will be fresh produce as I was all ready needing to restock there. But I have plenty of things in the freezer and pantry and more than enough animal feed and non food items as well. I am excited about the challenge!
Time to put my hard work of stocking up to the test!

Yup, it will be a great trial run for everyone. And it allows you to truly prepare in "comfort." Like I always say. You can prepare in comfort or cry in chaos.

We are in! My hubby actually challenged me to do this when he read your blog. I agree with Shoshana-living without fresh produce will be the challenge.
I look forward to seeing how well our family will do on this.
Thanks for the challenge.

Count me in! Gumpy Unk and I will start tomorrow! Only reason I'm starting Monday is cause I received notice that dairy products are skyrocketing Thankyou, intrusive government. I want to stock up so I can wax and can. I also plan to blog how the challenge goes for us. Join me.

I have been out of town and couldn't think of having my family start this without me at home to "guide" everyone. We began without a hitch although the refrig wasn't as well stocked as I would have liked. Amazingly we have actually added food as I given beautiful ripe peaches which went into the dehydrator and some were canned - yummy addition to storage.

Today was our first day-we almost blew it early this morning. I wanted to stop at the coffee shop on the way to church and hubby reminded me-that would be cheating.

Boy, if we don't make it 14 days it will be because I forget.

Anyway, first day we had whole wheat blueberry scones and fruit for breakfast.
Spaghetti for lunch and hotdogs for dinner.

13 days to go!

I have been trying to decide when to start. With many of the problems possibly happening this fall, ie: pandemic,(some saying that the swine flu could escelate when school starts), food shortages and rising prices at the least, and famine at the most, and the possible collaps of the dollar, I had been planning to buy as much as I could while the getting was good.

I am 70 years old, and live in a senior citizen complex. I no longer have a car, so going shopping is usually not on my time table, but someone elses. I also have many health problems.

I already have quite a bit of storage, and could probably survive for at least three months, although there are still many things that I need to add.

In thinking this through, I think I will start on the challenge later on in the month. It should be fun. Besides, I am going to your solar oven class, and I want to taste your samples.

You're AWESOME. Thanks for the giggle! :-)

I look forward to seeing you at the class then!

We've made it through day 2 without even a blip, and we even made lunches for my husband to take to work and our two boys to take with them when they de-tassel corn tomorrow. We also dehydrated some sweetcorn, green beans, and chives.Our real test will come when we take our son to his first year of college on August 12 (4-hour one-way drive):)

My friend just gave me your website and I am so impressed! Thanks for all your tips, hints, articles, etc. I am looking forward to trying this challenge. I strongly believe that you can learn more for your family in 3-4 days of this challenge than reading about it for years. I have actually done this accidently a few times. When my husband has asked, how long has it been since you have been to the store? I couldn't even remember :). I will also have a hard time not getting the coupon deals. Passing up "free" items will be the hardest challenge! Thanks!

ay, ay ay...that will be a challenge. Guess it's time to make cookies. and such. :-)

What are you putting in your flour to prevent bug out break?

About how long will it be before you post where to get the solar ovens?

I just keep them sealed until I'm ready to use it. If I get infestation, I can always put it in the solar oven at 180 degrees for 30 minutes.
Unfortunately, it's about 10 more days on the solar oven source. Sorry. Good things are worth the wait though. :-)

Today and tomorrow left. We ran out of eggs last night--made chili with bottled meat (yummy) and we always have cornbread muffins with it which take 4 eggs and I only had 2, so I used the gelatin substitute for the other two, powdered milk for the 2 1/4 cups of milk in them and they turned out fine--nobody noticed still (of course they weren't watching me actually make them either or I would have gotten the "what are you putting in my cornbread?" look from my husband). I may get a complaint in the next day or so as the milk is very low and probably won't make it until I go shopping on Wednesday. No milk, no eggs=limited options for breakfast around here.

I am out of fresh fruit. Thankfully I have plenty of frozen, dried and canned fruit. Today's "Fruit of the Day" was dried apricots.

I started on Monday, August 3 with the challenge from the blog at Idaho Preppers. She recommended we stop by your site to join in, but this is the first opportunity I've had to do it.

I am really prepared due to the swine flu possiblity this fall/winter. I have been stocking up on food and each weekend. I try to make sure I always have my fridge loaded for a possible emergency.

Luckily before the challenge was issued, I had enough food for 2 or more weeks stocked in my fridge (milk, eggs, cheese etc). I try to go to the store as little as possible anyway - to save money. The less I go to the store, the less I spend money. Plus, I plan my meals better to make sure that when I do go to the store, I purchase what I need without compulse purchasing.

It's also pretty easy to have a mock emergency in the summer when your garden is in full force. I actually am not feeling any pain at all - just a regular week of cooking. Wouldn't it be great if all emergencies came when we are prepared.

With a little olive oil and then purreeing the apricots, it makes for a yummy sauce on chicken.

I'm glad you stopped by, Sondra. Sounds like this will be an easier one for you. But I figured it was good preparation for the one I'm going to initiate in January. Stay tuned.

Here's my menu for today... I'm going to have to do some tweaking for the next week. Yesterday I did something really dumb. I was cutting some fabric and accidentally cut a chunk out of my knuckle. I ended up spending several hours in the doctors office and will have to have my finger wrapped for the next several weeks to let it heal. It's awkward and very painful...I was going to be making bread because we are out of loaf bread. Not going to happen now because I can't knead it. We'll probably do more pasta and quick breads instead.


Breakfast Cold cereal

Lunch BLT wraps

Dinner pasta alfredo, zucchini, rice

Stacy, OUCH! I have done that and it sure is painful. Hope your hand heals quickly.

Today is 1 week for us and so far so good. I actually haven't even raided my stored food yet. We have been living out of the kitchen pantry and fridge. But I see my fruit dwindling down and I will have to use some of the canned fruit before the end of this week.

Hanging in there in the deep south!

Be sure to stock different types of wormers & meds (not all of the same kind)as you need to rotate them to maintain effectiveness. Also, you might want to research DE (Diatomaceous earth) as a natural wormer.

After a successful solar-oven weekend challenge, my husband and I plan to accept this challenge to test our current preparedness and self-reliance. Three years ago, we experienced a 2-week self-reliance pre-test when hit with a hurricane, the third - each 2 weeks apart. The community was already weakened and not expecting anything more than a tropical storm or cat 1 hurricane at most, when an early morning surprise of a cat 3 hurricane left us 2 weeks without power, property damage, intermittent phone service, no working fuel pumps, and empty store shelves. Nighttime was pitch black and our only outside news of the area was through a battery operated radio where we heard looting was rampant. And that was for only 2 weeks! That experience was the start of our mission toward long-term self-reliance and has taken us these three years to build. Now it is time to test.

I enjoyed your solar oven class today. I have a solar oven ordered, but don't have it yet. In the meantime, I am going to try the block of wood, jar, and bag trick. Where do you get the little wire thingy with the wax that melts that you put in water?

I am starting the challenge tomorrow. It will be fun.

You get the WAPI from the same company that you get the solar ovens from. Usually they come with them, but check on that.

We are out of grapes, cherries, bananas, lettuce, tomatoes, celery, and squash-I am sure I am forgetting something!
Still have a few apples and 2 oranges-I am trying to use them sparingly!!
Today is our 11th day on this challenge and we are still doing ok-just missing all the fresh goodies.
So far I have noticed we need to add more comfort foods to our storage. I am sure I will find more things we need to add before the end of the week.
Thanks so much for doing this challenge, it forces me to look more realistically at our storage.

Today is my first day of the challenge. I had:

breakfast----Special K cold cereal and grapes
lunch----tuna salad and homemade whole wheat, oatmeal bread and a brownie
dinner----Mac & Cheese, and left over tuna salad

I have been craving peanut M&Ms all day.

There are a few things that can already see that I will need to conserve and be careful about using too fast.

I'm so glad that you're learning something through this! You're almost done! Woohoo!

Well, you know that you can store the Peanut M&Ms--hee hee. So I'd put that at the top of your list when you're done with this challenge. :-)

You can find the periodic updates about what I've learned from this experience on my blog:
If the links do not work, go to my blog and click on the "food security" label. Been learning a lot thus far!

How much gelatin for 1 egg?
What do we do about baking soda?
How can it be stored so it does not go bad and will not rise.
Things are going great on the 14 days ...only one day left!!!
It pays to store up!

Jackie, As a rule of thumb, 1 Egg EQUALS 1 teaspoon gelatin dissolved in 3 tablespoons of boiling water.
I'm not sure I'm understanding your question on baking soda. Baking soda on it's own will store for years.
Glad you're making it so well on your 14 days! Way to go!!!

Okay, we're only a couple of days into this due to the camping trip. Here's what I'm finding: Me looking at my favorite toothpaste and wondering if I'm going to have to use my husband's kind before the 2 weeks are up. Cringing every time the kids ask for some milk as I know that will only last so long. Wondering if the laundry soap is going to hold out (we were WAY due for the big trip to town to stock up before we started this!). Being extra careful not to waste food--like old bananas made it to the muffin stage instead of being put off until they were chicken food.

I see milk and a couple of toiletries maybe not making it the 14 days, but I actually haven't told DH or kiddos about the challenge just to see if anybody notices anything different (they're generally pretty oblivious to the runnings of the house as long as they're fed and clothed). I'll tell them when we're done or if someone suggests we go buy something.

You're a hoot...seeing if your family will notice. LOL

Well, we made it our 14 days without too many mess-ups! :)

What we learned:

We were not prepared with high-protein feed for the milk goats and laying chickens.

That we are in trouble if we would loose our electricity. I need to can more of our meat instead of freezing.

I am very addicted to my one vice (Diet Mt. Dew) and going without caused great headaches. I do not have many "comfort foods" stored.

We had the garden and milk to rely upon, so that made it easier for us. But, it did make me realize not to waste anything from the garden, I've gotten much more compulsive about dehydrating and not wasting anything.

Need to learn how to keep our home-made extra cheese without freezing it; we need to look into planting some container vegetables for in the house for winter usage. We're going to try tomatoes and carrots. And we will be planting a couple of acres of wheat this fall.

We are also looking at installing a corn stove for heat (we grow our own corn); and we are applying for a grant to install wind and solar for electric generation.

Thank you for doing this challenge. It really helped us think about things and figure out where our weaknesses are as a whole (and not just with food storage).

Mission accomplished! Whoohoo!

When we got the challenge, it had already been 1 week since we'd been to the store, but we decided to try it anyways. My children and husband didn't believe we could really go that long without shopping, but I thought we should at least give it a try. We made bread from scratch- even ground our own wheat. We sprouted alfalfa, and made yogurt at home from powdered milk (both of which we had already been doing). We live about 20 minutes from the grocery store- and we have 5 small children which make shopping an adventure- so we try to keep shopping at a minimum. Benefits of doing this challenge in the summer were the free fruits and veggies our families gave us from their gardens (our garden spot isn't ready yet).
I learned I need to have more comfort food and easy food- for when the baby is crying, Mom is exhausted, and the older kids are fussing and quarreling. More ready to eat stuff. It would help me to make a list of meals I could prepare quickly from food storage so that when I get to the exhasuted point I don't have to think about what to make. I need to conserve my energy- it is already in low supply just meeting the every day needs of our children. I learned that my 9 year old can make bread (with the help of a mixer!) and it turned out great. We learned that we use less milk when we eat oatmeal for breakfast. We learned it wasn't really all that bad- we can do this!

Yay!!! We made it!!! Managed to cook real meals virtually every night, too... although here's what I learned:

1. I totally went through Walmart-trip withdrawal, LOL.

2. MILK. Hubby - unless he's actually starving - WILL. NOT. TOUCH. any sort of milk he doesn't think is "fresh." Gotta be a little more clever in the approach, I guess. But our boxed milk worked for cereal & cooking, and cans of evaporated milk helped, too. Also, boxed milk will keep a ways beyond its "best by" date - and whole milk makes GREAT chocolate milk!

3. EGGS. Definitely need to keep eggs stocked, and acquire a few cans of powdered eggs, too.

4. Quantity. We go through a lot more of what we have, when I'm actually trying to work with what we have, LOL!

5. Variety. It's important. And I got pretty creative when we ran out of non-mozzarella cheese! Hats off to Cream of Cheddar soup... ;-) But varieties of meats and breads would've helped, too.

6. Comfort food. Went through this a little faster than I thought, too, LOL! But I discovered that no-bake cookies are a great food storage recipe. And I do think we have enough Hershey's syrup, LOL.

7. Resources. Having a shared garden slightly available helped, and we were lucky not to have to "barter" anything. Although we did have "Bread." for dinner one night last week, LOL. (Hey, it was fresh out of the oven, at least!) ;-)

8. PLANNING. My habits have changed; where I used to get a whim for something and head to the store for any non-basic ingredients I needed, I'm learning to make do with what we have, even adjusting or substituting plans if necessary. I also learned that my "planned" menu/shopping list is much different than my regular one was before. Trying to decide dinner in advance (like after lunch instead of at 6 when Hubby gets home) made me actually take stock of what we had. Plus, I was more conservative and disciplined with what I ate, to avoid waste. That's a good, healthy habit I need to get into, anyway!!! :-) My thinking has really shifted.

9. I can't rotate/check food expiration often enough! I just purged the cupboard a couple months ago, yet one of our soups and some other items (including medicines, since I checked) were expired. That sure puts a wrench in a plan!

THANK YOU so much for having this challenge!!! I had developed a lot of really lazy, expensive, wasteful habits, (frequent "stops at the store," even if not the monthly grocery trip... fast food/pizza if nothing presented itself fast enough, etc.); and this helped me shake them off. It was amazing how, for the first few days, Kiddo reflexively said, "we need to go the store and get some more"... but it was also amazing how quickly he caught on that "we're living on what we have; we're not buying more right now." I've become a lot more thoughtful, creative, flexible, and deliberate in our food usage as a result of this challenge, and I can't thank you enough!!! :-) (And I'm pretty sure Hubby appreciates the savings AND the real meals!) :-)

We have completed the challenge also. When we began I did not think we would have much trouble because I knew we had enough food (probably 2 years worth) but it was so interesting to see the things we missed.

Of course, fresh produce was missed and I don't know how successful we will be at raising our own. We have been trying but with little success. We live in the deep south and have every bug you can imagine down here. Add to that the intense heat we had early this summer and our gardening successes would not tell long to describe. However, we continue to try!!

The main items we noticed we needed to add to our stores was comfort foods and foods for the road. I think the latter was the hardest part, being out running errands and knowing I could not stop for a drink or anything. Definitely need to add some travel worth foods.

Thank you so much for doing this challenge. It sure opened our eyes and will help us be better prepared.

Leslie, Thank you SO much for sharing this with all of us. You hit on some of the very points that I suspected that would be realized during this challenge! Way to go!!

Yet another awesome post! I really hope that others benefit from reading this!! Thank you!!!
By the way, remember that expiration dates are for attorneys. I'm sure you could have kept and used some of those items. Keep in mind that I've got cake mixes that I've had for over 5 years now and still use them successfully. That's just one example. I've got dozens.

Patti, Thanks so much for giving this a diligent effort! It's amazing what you notice in a situation like this. The other day I was drinking a Dr. Pepper in the car (yes, it was from my storage.) But as I was running errands, I felt a need to have another one and nearly just bought it like I normally would (although with a coupon, of course. hee hee)
I've also received e-mails from several of you. I keep hearing "comfort food" shortage in every one of them. One of the posters hit the nail on the head when she said she needed something easy to make when she was exhausted. That's exactly right. And really, who would think about that if they didn't go through this experience!
Imagine what the situation would have been like if there was a major headache, or some nausea, or an injury thrown into the mix. I'm sure that even the most ardent prepper who was trying this experiment would have broken down to get "comfort food" in such a situation.
Thanks for your awesome posts everyone!

Overall I am pleased with how we did. We buy organic food because of some health conditions. Our nearest grocery store is 30 miles away and only has a small amount of organics. We normally go once a month to Whole Foods 75 miles away to purchase things and we also buy bulk things from a co-op every few months. Two weeks after the Whole Foods run we normally go to the grocery 30 miles away and just buy whatever organics they have in the produce department(very limited).....however the challenge began before I could do that. When I began the challenge on August 1st it had all ready been two weeks since we had done a big Whole Food run. That time we had gone to a different one while out of state for a day and did not buy as much as normal due to space limitations, which meant that when the challenge began I was just about out of fresh produce. We raise dairy goats so we had plenty of milk during the challenge. I had plenty of meat, vegetables, fruits, grains, snacks, beverages, treats and such in the freezer and pantry that we ate quite well. The biggest problem was salad and fresh fruit. Oh how I craved those! We did have tomatoes from the garden almost daily though. We did not run out of eggs although I did have egg powder in storage if we had.
We have now made a Whole Foods run and DH and I ate a whole cantelope between the two of us for lunch today! We are having a huge salad for dinner tonight! Truly fresh produce was the only thing I missed. I do hope to have a bigger garden next year and want to experiment with sprouting ( I already have some seeds to sprout) Thank you for this challenge!

I have finished day 5 of the challenge. With so many finishing, I don't know if anyone is interested, but I am doing great. Yesterday I finished up the last of my store bought milk, so last night I mixed up some powdered milk. It is a new brand to me, and didn't taste too bad. I am being very careful with the eggs, but will probably be able get through to the end of the challenge. I will have to be more diligent in getting egg substitutes for the future. As with everyone else, it's the snack foods that I miss. Since most cakes, cookies, brownies, and so many other things require eggs, when this challenge is over, I am going to work on getting the egg substitutes. Butter is another thing that I am being careful with, so that it will last. Cola drinks is another. Of course it would be better to not drink them anyway.

I have another challenge going concurrently with this challenge. Lack of water is not part of this challenge, but where I live it is. I live in a senior citizen complex. The building is quite old, and the management has decided to replace all of the water valves in the building. It will take 45 days. So on week days the water is turned off. It goes back on in the evening, so it's not like we are out of water totally, but it does require some planning. Showering and dishwashing, and clothes washing must be done at night. I already had water stored, so if I forget to fill pots and pans, etc. with water I'm still OK. I have to fill the bucket for the toilet as well. I know that compared to other dissasters, this is minor. It is just a minor inconvenience. However, there is one thing that I keep doing automatically, that I can't seem to stop. When I want to wash my hands, I automatically turn on the faucet. Of course there is no water. Thank goodness I have hand sanitizer, but when this challenge is over, I will buy a lot more.

So often when we think of preparedness, we think of major disasters. Over the years, I have dealt with a number of situations caused by water problems including backed up sewer, broken pipes, flooding, frozen pipes, thawed out pipes, etc. We hear of communities where the water supply is contaminated for some reason. Many things can happen.

One time at a place where I worked, it was closed over the Christmas holidays. The water pipes were in the attic. During that particular year, there was a very cold spell. The pipes froze and broke. Then when it warmed up and the pipes thawed, the water started running. By the time workers came back, the ceiling had fallen in--- furniture, cabinets, and walls were all ruined.

In our preparations, we need to think about what can happen in our own personal home, and take some precautions.

Gabrielle, Thanks so much for sharing. I hope others can learn even if they havent' done the experiment.

For the rest of you, the month of August isn't over yet. Some of you have just started. So keep up the great work! You can see from the comments of others what a great experiment this is.

Wow, 2 challenges at the same time!
You are very brave to do this at the time your water is off.
Good luck!

Oh I meant baking powder....I bought a big container of it in May 2008....I filled my little baking powder container that I use on my shelf and put the rest of it in small snack bags with an oxygen absorber and put in mylar bags that I cut to fit the baggie.
The baking powder on the shelf did not rise. I opened the one I had stored and the corn bread rose just fine.
Any other suggestion on was to store this.?
I too see where we need to store more comfort food for emergencies.
Where do you suggest getting a solar oven?

Jackie, first of all, you'll want to take the oxygen absorber out of your baking powder. You don't want to put those in yeast, soda, powder, or flour. You'll make the rising ability more difficult. The mylar bag alone should be plenty sufficient. I don't put oxygen absorbers in my cake mixes or other baking mixes either for this reason. In with whole corn, or whole wheat, that's fine. But not things that are supposed to help with the rising and cooking of food.

If I were you, I'd be just a little more patient and get the solar oven from a site that I'm going to recommend here soon. They will have the best prices for all of our readers.

I finished the challenge successfully! Woo Hoo. This is my blog explaining my success:

I've learned that I am addicted to shopping - since I didn't go for two whole weeks. That was the toughest thing....not the challenge. (shaking my head).

It's good to know we are VERY prepared!

Sondra, I too found myself going through serious shopping/couponing withdrawals. Strange, eh?
Glad you took this opportunity by the horns!

Today was just crazy busy and when I finally was heading home to begin dinner my car made a quick turn into Smiths and almost unknowingly I came out with a roasted chicken. Bad for day two! All else went well. Multi-grain pancakes and eggs for breakfast. Bum deal though, the last drop of the real maple syrup. Peach jam on the pancakes the next time. That was another thing I made yesterday with the free peaches. Did I mention that I froze 8 quarts too.

Thanks for the encouragement to take this challenge. It is something that I have been thinking about for quite some time. I can see several "holes" that we have so those items will be the first to go on the shopping list when the two weeks are up.

Has anyone else noticed how almost daily the prices on groceries are skyrocketing? Doesn't it give you a good feeling to have food in storage? Thanks Kellene for all your encouraging and great classes!

I have been doing quite well on the challenge. I have plenty of food, but I'm still craving sinful snacks.

The last few days, I haven't felt very well, and so I was glad to be prepared in that area as well. I made a large pot of chicken vegetable noodle soup last week, and froze a lot of it in individual portions. So all I had to do was remember to thaw it out. I also have canned soups, which are good if someone is sick. I also have jello, ginger ale, and crackers stored. I was glad to have them. I'm feeling better now.

Barbara mentioned the rising prices. I read on another blog that there may be a shortage on sugar soon. While I do have quite a bit of sugar stored, I was really tempted to ignore the challenge, and go buy some more. I have noticed that several stores are having specials on it right now. I resisted temptation though, and did not go buy it. I'm hoping there will be more specials after next pay day.

that's one thing I think you can still count on for a while--specials. :-) At least for a few more weeks.

Aw...a little twist to your challenge...not feeling well. Glad you made it through.

Barb, I didn't know you spoke Chicken?

Okay we're five days into the challenge and I've made some surprising discoveries:

1. Since we already garden and I make all our bread products, I haven't had to worry about as much as I thought I would.

2. Even just starting our food storage three months ago has made a HUGE difference! Most everything has been canned or dehydrated and is ready for use.

3. I am sooooooo glad I always buy too much toilet paper.

4. I miss Diet Coke entirely too much.

***warning....grossness alert****

5. I have GOT to buy sanitary napkins en masse. I didn't have enough. Thankfully, a friend of mine makes cloth ones and brought me a few. Lots of washing involved...which brings me to my next discovery.

6. Laundry and dish soap should be bought en masse too. I only have enough left of each for about 3 days. Gotta read up and see if baking soda or vinegar can be used for those purposes. :)

I'm a little nervous to see where the next 9 days take us. But excited to discover the big gaping holes in my plans. :)

Oh! Another interesting discovery:

School started here last week. I already had much of what was needed, but there were some things that I didn't learn I needed until AFTER starting the challenge.

I told the teachers, that I was unable to buy those items for another two weeks. I did not tell them why. Their response was "no problem, just bring it when you can."

You know, two weeks ago...I would have panicked thinking "I have to get this RIGHT NOW or my babies will do without." Turns out, they're doing just fine and completely unaware that they don't have the certain size of ziploc bags and paper cups on their supply list. Imagine that.

Day 10 now, and nobody's noticed anything. Been making lots of powdered drinks (lemonade, koolaid, etc.) to make the milk drinking slow down a bit. Should have started that sooner. Made our anniversary dinner from steaks in the freezer and fresh veggies from the garden. The laundry soap is going to make it, as is my toothpaste. Had to swipe dishsoap from the camping box though, and eggs are getting low--maybe the chickens will start laying for me . . .

As someone else already noted, most of the food I have stored is for making things from scratch. Making things from scratch takes time. A couple of our meals have been a bit later than they otherwise might have, but so far so good. :) Thanks for the fun!

Oh man, I'm out of canning jars. Guess it's time to pull out the dehydrator since I can't go buy more jars. lol

Only today and tomorrow left. Friday night there was a church dinner. I didn't have to pay anything, so I think I'm OK there. I have been given losts of fresh produce, which has been a very nice addition. The powdered milk has been pretty good, even to drink, so that is nice to know. I've made 2 batches during the challenge. LIFE IS GOOD.

Ugh. Thought I had conditioner in the storage room--turns out I only have shampoo. Raiding the camping gear again . . . :) I have quite the list of things I want to add to the storage since doing this :)

All I can say is THANK GOODNESS I have a powdered milk on hand that I actually like. Also, for those of you who are in the Utah area, Macey's has the powdered milk on sale BELOW their wholesale price, for only $6.99 for the #10 can. They also have a killer price on vital wheat gluten ($10.79) for a #10 can.

I've been serving the powdered milk during my classes to try and show folks that it's not the evil kind they were raised on as a kid. :-) I even had one woman who tried it that didn't even like milk at all and still thought that it was fine.

Creating that list will be a HUGE help to you in the "not so long" run. *wink*

Okay this is the 1st I have heard of this. I just bought 25lb of rice.

You can still give the challenge a try, Charles! I hope you do!

Well, the challenge is over and we learned a very important thing. My DH is on lots of medication of which some is controlled, so we are allowed to only have so much of it. It takes a Doc's order to have over 30 days. He ran out of some of the pills three days before the end of the challenge. We have made an appointment to see if Doc will give us a two or three month prescription. Some comfort (junk) food would be good too, but we can do without that but not the pills.
Learned we can exist on sprouts for fresh veg. as garden is not producing this year as I would have liked. Everything else is OK

I'm glad to hear of some of what you learned. The medication issue will be a significant obstacle to many (including myself if I dont' manage to get off of all of them before things really go south) Do some research and find out what natural remedies MAY do the same thing for your husband, at least on a lower level. That, and your other plans, should help you.

Three days to go and we'll be done with the challenge here.

The first couple of days I felt a little panicky because I forgot to go to the farm stand and get tomatoes, and my plants have quit producing.

I really craved those tomatoes for a few days, and I think the panicky feeling was from the old feelings of being without fresh food for over a month after Katrina and the strong emotions that came up the first time fresh produce was available locally.

I also had the feeling that I might be depriving myself artificially without good reason when we might be deprived in reality, all over again, if a hurricane hits in the next few weeks. Lots of emotions around being deprived of fresh food.

But I was able to just enjoy the produce that's still in my garden and quit worrying about the two sweet weeks of tomato season I was missing.

Other than that, I haven't noticed any difference so far. Two weeks is a short time for a challenge--but a good baby step, as you say --especially when you've gone as long or longer in real natural disasters.

I buy organic milk, which has expiration dates about a month out, so we didn't run out of that.

For this challenge,I bought some iceberg lettuce and cabbage in addition to other lettuce, since iceberg and cabbage will keep two weeks well-stored in the fridge, also carrots and celery, so no problem with salads for two weeks. I do need to learn to use my new sprouter, though.

I still have apples and oranges that are fine, just out of bananas, berries, etc., though I have melons from the garden.

We have lots of coffee, soft drinks, juice, ice cream, meat and what not stored, so there haven't been any deficiencies. In a real crisis, of course, with the power out, we'd have lost freezer items and would have had to go to non-refrigerated food storage for substitutes.

As I've been working diligently at food storage for several months now, have enough food and supplies to last at least 6 months, so this has been just a nice reminder that we're fine supply-wise in an emergency.

Because of food allergies, I always have food bars, nuts, water, etc. with me wherever I go, and avoid eating out unless it's really socially necessary, so needing to get something to eat or drink while out and about wasn't a problem.

As I planned from the outset, during the challenge period I have gone to two stores to get exceptional buys for my food and supply storage. I didn't see this Food Challenge, for me personally, as "Can I not cast my shadow upon a store for any reason" -- which I know from experience I easily can manage -- but as "Can we live normally on what we already have on hand for two weeks." In this way I sorted out what would be useful for me personally and what would not.

My exceptional buys for long term storage are actually still in the back of my SUV, in the garage, so they haven't even been added to my storage. But I saved over $200, more than 50%, on items that are important to my storage plan, and as a previous post-er said, I feel it's wise to make hay while the sun shines, and we're better off for it.

I've been doing some thinking about what I would stock up on if I knew, or believed, in advance that there would be a crisis that would keep the stores closed or fresh food unavailable AND I believed the power would be out.

I made a list that included the number of pounds of each of these foods that I believe my family would eat before they would spoil, room-temperature storable foods that I would want to have to extend the period of time I had fresh foods before going just into dry/canned food storage.

My last-minute stock-up list includes potatoes, onions, garlic, cabbage, apples, oranges, winter squash (in season), green bananas if there are any in the bin, plus some more waxed cheese and non-refrigerated hard sausage if there is still room in my cart - and an extra bag of ice to extend the life of what I already have on hand at home.

The produce items will last at room temperature from 1 to 4 weeks or possibly more in cooler weather, and can add a lot of variety to canned/dried meals and also be used with whatever produce might be in my garden at the time.

If anyone has other ideas about items that would keep for a long time without refrigeration, I'd love to hear them.

While everyone else is buying bottled water, toilet paper, batteries and tuna fish, I'll be the one in the produce aisle :)

Dee, once again, thanks for sharing. The only thing I have to add to your post is:

I beg you and everyone else who reads this NOT to plan on going to the grocery store when there's a pending emergency. Seriously. That's not a plan. That's an additional disaster waiting to happen. It will be like the front lines of a battle in the event of an announced disaster. That's the last place anyone should be.

Sounds like you guys did GREAT on this challenge! I'm looking forward to extending a little tougher one in the fall. *grin*

Gosh, going 2 weeks without buying anything is no big deal for me. That happens at some point of every month. It's not unusual for my van to stay parked 2 or 3 weeks between trips.

I had a stroke in January and was unable to drive for months. Luckily my drug store delivers the 7 miles to my house, so I got meds monthly.

I love food storage and my garden :-)

I tried a great recipe today using canned white beans to make a spread for sandwiches. My husband usually is open to trying new recipes but wasn't sure that sandwiches should be experimented with. He LOVED it! Everything was on hand and all the ingredients could have come from storage except I am using up the last of the fresh produce in the refrig. Next time we will use sprouts instead of lettuce and I will dice some of the dehydrated cherry tomatoes I vacuum sealed, rehydrate them and a then stir fry them in with the garlic before adding to the mashed beans. I know it all sounds pretty strange but it was gourmet quality!

Great idea; I will look for the acrylic pitcher. That is actually what I had in mind. I am more a garage sale and thrift store frequenter than a kitchen store fan and have found that once I focus in on something, and make it a matter of prayer, I usually find it at my price. I am also looking for a crank egg beater, who knows when that might come in handy.

This is how it went.

Day 2. Out of cat food.
Day 3. Out of rice milk.
Day 4. Out of duck food.
Day 12. Hubby arrives from being out of town for a month and all bets are off.

What did we miss the most? The variety of fresh fruits and vegetables available to us. Even though we have a garden growing we don't have everything and not everything in there is at the harvest stage yet.

What did I learn? I need more food in the pantry. And more food for the animals.

Thanks for challenging us Kellene.

Today I had BLT sandwich, without the lettuce. It was out of homemade whole wheat bread, home grown tomatoes, and bacon. I didn't have any lettuce. It was sooooo yummy.

As I posted earlier, they are replacing all of the water valves in my apartment building, thereby having the water turned off. So the guy came to change the valves in my apartment at--(you guessed it) ----just before time to fix dinner. I had to get everything out from under my sink so he could work. Well, he worked in the bathroom for awhile, and then went into the kitchen and worked for awhile. After he had worked for awhile, he said that he didn't have the right size, and would have to come back tomorrow. In the meantime, my kitchen is a mess, so I just ate a cottage cheese salad for supper, and some homemade bread---None of which required cooking. The water thing is still a minor inconvenience compared to the real disasters that some people have had to go through.

Believer, you're a much more tolerant person than I am. That would make me growl, big time.

10 days into the challenge:

1. Out of shampoo
2. Out of laundry detergent
3. Out of dish detergent
4. Out of milk & butter
5. Out of canning jars with produce still coming in from the garden.

A couple of interesting notes:

1. Our pencil sharpener broke. Rather than picking up a new one, we are sharpening pencils with a knife. Why hadn't I considered the wonderful convenience of a pencil sharpener before?! Lord, I hope my can opener doesn't break. LOL

2. I'm still good on flour, but an interesting thought occurs to me. My stored wheat won't do me a bit of good without a mill. Have to buy a mill.

3. Looking today to find "in a pinch" substitutes for detergents & shampoos. Also going to research how to make my own soaps and detergents....and then buy what I need when the challenge is over.

4. When people learn that we're doing this challenge, they act like we've been harmed in some way. "Oh you poor thing." Huh?! Our family is the only ones we've told about this, and they already know our thoughts on preparedness.....why are they surprised we'd want to test our theories and supplies? Duh!

Wow, Becky. Are you ever fortunate that you did this challenge! Look at all that you've learned so far. Wonder how much your naysayer associates would realize in their lives if they tried it as well? Keep up the AWESOME work!

Another breakfast of freshly ground whole grain pancakes, which is my son's favorite meal. Fortunately he likes them just as well with peanut butter and honey as with syrup. Our goal is to keep processed foods out of our lives as much as possible especially anything with sugar or high fructose corn syrup so when we buy syrup it is only real maple syrup. That is the pinch as it is soooo much more expensive than Ms. Butterworths and I hadn't made replacement a priority.

Since pancakes are a staple at our house and it is unlikely that I will be able to fund a year's supply of real maple syrup soon, I have decided on a fall back position while I work on that priority. I used to make maple syrup out of white and brown sugar and maple and vanilla extract. Although that is not my preference, I will purchase several bottles of both extracts to have on hand should I ever be caught with my real maple syrup bottle empty when the SHTF (the S is for stuff not syrup ;o)

Kellene, again thanks for the challenge; we are finding the soft spots and will make them priorities for procurement.

I'll have to post my syrup recipe one of these days. The key though is "real" maple flavoring instead of the watered down stuff. *why am I craving pancakes all of the sudden?*

Well of course that brings the question of where do you find the "real" maple flavoring. I am sure that will make it all the more yummy!

Be here tomorrow at 6:15 AM and we'll have a hot stack for you, but bring your own syrup or plan on honey or jam :)


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