Thursday, November 20, 2008

Meal Planning

Part of our move to living off grid has challenged my meal plans. I have had to adapt to not having the freezer to grab from my stock pile for a quick meal. But, I have been adjusting more. I have had to adapt at new places to shop etc. and find all the secret places the locals shop. This last week finally feels successful in that we used of our purchases and pickings from the plans. The meat stayed fresh for the 7 days in my 7 day cooler and out of the 2 bags of ice I bet I only lost ¼ of the ice. Now, it is cold enough to keep the ice 100% frozen as well as the food almost 100% frozen by keeping outside, so that is great for us!

Another challenge has been not having a predictable oven. I guess I shouldn't say the oven is not predictable as much as I need my husband to light it these first few times until I get the hang of it. So, I cannot wait to put the roast in the oven until he gets home etc. I have 4 burners that I do not feel I need to wear a helmet to light them J. I have gotten real creative with cooking directly on top of the wood stove because of the oven issue. The wood stove does not have a thermostat of course. I have been playing it by feel and smell. Yesterday I cooked a huge pot roast in a Dutch oven on top of a 1" rack on the woodstove. I put the meat in the oven at about 11 am and cooked until 4 pm. Just like a crock pot I guess. It worked fine. I have done lots of casserole type things as well. I want to try bread next… stay tuned.

Yesterday I stocked up down the road at the staples store with about 3 weeks to a month of non-perishables. Instead of buying our meat this week(s) we plan to butcher our broiler chickens and consume and pressure cook them. We have 2 deer aging in the shop to consume and pressure cook. Thanksgiving will be 1 of our Bourbon Red Turkeys, although the children are not excited about this as they said I am killing one of the "Clevenger Brothers" (the kids made up this name) . Thanksgiving will be fairly simple this year. I love that each day as I cling more and more to this simple lifestyle I can look at our dinner table and see more of our very own food that we have grown and raised. It is so rewarding to know where it came from and as I cook with it I feel so blessed that we raised it from the bottom up. This year will be our first Thanksgiving apple pies from our very own apples. Next year I want to have our own pumpkins for pies… We forgot and carved this years J. It just keeps going on and on… I wonder if I have a "boggy" enough place on the farm to grow our own cranberries. At any rate I feel like I am getting back in the groove of our family meal planning while living without electricity….


Anonymous said...

I wondered about this. I know that when we go camping (where I won't have access to an oven) that it takes a lot more planning on my part. We like to eat real meals when we go camping-not just hotdogs and burgers the whole time. We really enjoy foil packet meals too. (*might be an option with the woodstove)But if you're trying to remain very frugal and not waste too much, they might not be a good choice because there's really no salvaging the foil when they're done. :-/
I'll be watching for more posts about this. Maybe you could share some of your meal plans when you get things more settled?

Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention that I love the new header photo! My girls love to carry around our chickens on their hips-it's such a cute sight to see. :-)

Swylv said...

Just stopping in to say HI and thanks for answering my questions:-)

Peggy said...

Ang, next time you are at a walmart go to the camping section. They have a oven that you can sit on top of a gas stove or woodstove. You can bake bread,etc and use it just like you do a regular oven. They are less than $20 or they have bigger ones that cost a little more. You could probably find a place to order one online. I am so enjoying reading your blog! You are to me what Rhonda Jean is to you... keep the posts coming!

Parisienne Farmgirl said...

this is what I have been wondering about the most. i told you that I think about you all the time during the day and I swear, everytime I use my stove I think, This is the one thing I could not give up. Can you cook French food Amish style???

Ante Family Agrarians said...

Keeping food frozen is our biggest challenge as well right now. When we purchase meat fresh we either have to eat it right away, or can it. This winter I'm looking forward to cooking more on our wood burner. I do have a wood burning cook stove in the shed, but we want to install it on our seasonal porch. Which of course isn't built! Lord willing I'll be using it next winter to do all the cooking. Thanks for sharing, as for me getting the meal routine back up and going was a challenge too.
Peace, Kris

Renata said...

Thanks for including this post. I was wondering about what you did instead of freezing. You're doing a great job!

all photos and writing on this blog ©Copyright Maple Valley Farms 2008-2011