Simplifying our lives involves many, many things. Learning to do the things that we normally rely on others to do is simplicity at it’s foundation. One of the applications for this is in our kitchens. When we learn techniques for making things from scratch not only are we broadening our skill set, but we are also making far tastier and healthier foods.

Here are a few ideas for making things you would normally buy at the grocery store.

Butter

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I have read other blogs that give good tutorials on making butter so I won’t post one here. Michele posted a great tutorial, which I used as an outline in my butter making process.

Yogurt

I have made yogurt before, but when we moved and no longer had a gas stove with a pilot light I stopped and have looked for a simple way to make it since. I love using my crock pot so this recipe was perfect for me.

Applesauce

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We love fruit in our house, but since I won’t be shopping for it weekly for the next two months I had to preserve some fresh local apples so that they wouldn’t overtake my refrigerator. I made and canned no-sugar cinnamon applesauce. This is a great site for canning and preserving information.

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First of all, THANK YOU all for your wonderful comments, questions and for just simply stopping by and saying hello. I am excited to see many of you taking an interest and following along. I have had a couple of questions about the challenge, so thought I would paraphrase the two I have had most frequently and answer them in a blog post.

Q: “I am concerned that you all won’t be getting enough to eat (certain food groups, or all together)?”

Thank you very much for your concern for our family’s well being. One thing I didn’t mention or put enough emphasis on is that we have A LOT of food in our home. One reason I wanted to do this challenge was so that I wouldn’t continue to buy other foods out of convenience or desire instead of using up the food we have on hand. Another reason I wanted to do this challenge is because I want to know what it’s like NOT to have to rely on the grocery store for our food supply. I am hoping that beginning next spring/summer we will start to eat as much local and seasonal foods as possible. Who knows, perhaps I will be doing a year long ‘eat local’ series next year.

By stocking up on some local foods and other staples (not necessarily local) I am learning how to utilize these foods and still feed my family well. If we were only eating locally and seasonally we wouldn’t be getting a lot of fresh vegetables in our diet, save root vegetables, winter squashes and whatever else I could find in our garden or the farmer’s markets. So while we may not be eating lettuces, cucumbers or bananas we have been feasting on root vegetables, cabbages, winter squash, canned and frozen green beans, peas, carrots, grains and beans. We are also able to get fresh milk, eggs and meat from our farmer as needed. If we get to a point where we need more protein I have it available to me without having to go to the grocery store. I have been trying to take advantage of every last ounce of nutrition and flavor of our foods for our family’s well being. It has been eye opening and educational, and we’re only in the first week. Also, you can check out my weekly menu plan to see what we’re eating.

Q: “How are you going to celebrate thanksgiving and christmas while doing no spend months?”

We will be having a family meal that I will be preparing on Thanksgiving. The guest list is not long – up to 4 people besides our little family of 4, so it won’t be an elaborate affair. It will, however, be a bit unconventional. I have a lamb shoulder roast in our freezer that I will be roasting. Alongside of that we will most likely be having Autumn millet bake, cabbage salad, homemade bread, homemade applesauce, cranberry sauce or pie, another dessert (possibly chocolate) and maybe some raw whipped cream for the desserts.

Our family does not observe christmas, much like Tammy and her family. Her article (scroll up to the top of the page in the previous link) sums up most of the reasons our family does not observe christmas (or easter), so you can read her article if you are wondering. Our family has begun to explore the biblical feasts and celebrations and have found it a great way to teach our children and ourselves about the picture of Christ in the old testament. I would highly encourage it.

Here are some other bloggers who are either joining me or doing something similar:

Gracia Fraile

Living Simple

One Minute Blogger