Day 7, Olive Green Noodles and Olive Green Beans

We are all pleasantly surprised to find that powdered milk isn’t so bad if it’s well chilled.

The two eggs are still very much unused; As much as I like scrambled eggs for breakfast, I like homemade cookies even more. We have all agreed to save them for Anna’s next baking fix.

As for dinner, the honeymoon phase of the experiment is definitely over. Tonight I thought I’d make use of this Philadelphia Cooking Cream (“robustly flavored for cooking”) that a friend gave me to try:

The label  promises a wonderful, saucy pasta dish that tastes like something from The Olive Garden, using  only this  glorified cream cheese, meat and veggies.

I added two containers of this stuff to a package of spinach fettuccine and the last of our frozen Christmas ham. What I got was a pot of pasta and wallpaper paste. I quickly taught Anna (my sous chef) to make a basic white sauce (with Parmesan cheese and garlic) to add to it.

It didn’t help, for when Dave entered the front door and walked over to the stove to inspect dinner, I heard him say under his breath, “Oh boy.” It wasn’t a Beggin’ Strips “Oh Boy,” but an Oh brother “Oh Boy.” And he didn’t even know about the canned green beans yet.


Now before you make a mental note to “never eat at the Bogdans’,” I should let you know that under normal circumstances this meal would have been something to write home about:

Fresh garden green beans, left whole and sautéed to squeakiness, with butter and fresh garlic

Marinated, grilled chicken breasts in homemade Alfredo sauce (made with cream, not cream cheese) over spinach fettucine

Phew! It’s good to remind myself that I can cook a decent meal. So can Dave, who will be tomorrow’s cook. The decision was unanimous.



Day 5-6, Chicken and Bon-bons

We have two freshly-laid chicken eggs in our refrigerator. Dave and I are the only ones in the family who eat eggs for breakfast–two each. This morning neither of  us wanted to take the last of the eggs, so there they sit. We won’t be getting any more, for our beloved hen, Martha, was eaten by a skunk two nights ago.


I spent most of yesterday near Rochester, NY, and returned late last night to find that someone had amused himself by hijacking my Facebook status and informing the whole cybersphere  that his wife had left him to eat sausage gravy for the third night in a row while she enjoyed bon-bons at a bridal shower.

Dave wasn’t exactly correct. I had Thai chicken and bon-bons.

My cousin Autumn had invited Achsah (another cousin) and I over for dinner after the shower, and taught us how to make Thai chicken and rice. Basically, you sauté chicken, onions, garlic and bell peppers and simmer it all in a sauce of broth, coconut milk, and chili pepper paste. Serve over rice.

I brought the hijacker a container-full, just so you know.

Today we joined friends for spaghetti after church. It was good to have salad. I even forced myself to eat one of those explosive and yucky-tasting cherry tomatoes.

Sunday night supper is traditionally called “Whatever Night.” The meaning is rapidly changing from “whatever you want” to “whatever you can find.”

We have about 1/5 of a gallon of milk left. It keeps company with the two eggs on the top shelf of the fridge, all untouched and worshiped like family idols.

I find that sometimes God gives you His nod of approval on certain decisions. Since the day we began this experiment, the following items have unexpectedly come into our hands (all the food from people that didn’t know what we are doing) :

8 mangos

2 lbs. fresh strawberries

5 lbs. basmati rice

5 lbs. animal crackers

two baby chicks (the day after Martha-the-hen croaked)

a stainless steel glass top stove

three gigantic bags of girls’ name-brand clothes

Oh, and bon-bons.

Day 4

Some food is better left over, and sausage gravy is no exception. I added corn to the meal last night (for a side dish), as Dave is a stickler about having all the colors of the rainbow on our plates. Besides, corn is good for keeping things moving in the right–never mind.

Anna learned that brown sugar can be made by mixing white with molasses (1 cup to 1 tablespoon, respectively). She baked a delicious batch of mint chip dark chocolate cookies. We are really suffering.

We may have to explore eating roadkill at this rate, if I want to keep readers coming back. Don’t worry Mom, we’ll make sure it’s still warm to the touch before taking it home. 😉

Day 3

When I showed you the inside of my fridge, I failed to mention that we have a full size freezer downstairs–a mausoleum for Big Bird and  Bambi’s uncle (He had a big rack and heavy poundage; Dave would want you to know.).  The fridge freezer upstairs has a few freezer-burned odds and ends (I’d rather write than spring-clean my appliances.).

So last night’s dinner was a family favorite: Venison breakfast-sausage gravy and Dave’s homemade whole wheat biscuits. It’s okay to be jealous. (Trust me, it tastes better than it looks. Due to the combination of seasonings we use, our gravy doesn’t have that white-glue appearance of the canned glop you buy in the store.) :


I was lazy and skipped the vegetables. The only “real” ones we have left are a huge stash of fresh-frozen corn. That will be a nice supplement to the dreaded crap-in-a-can, which is what we call anything edible that comes in a can. We have a stash of that too, for doomsday.

I continue to discover more benefits of this experiment. Yesterday the girls had some friends over, and when one of the guests proceeded to eat a snack, two of the girls had a fit. I said, “Girls! This is supposed to make you more giving, not more selfish!”

We have a lot to learn.

At bedtime, Rebecca (9) prayed this prayer:

Dear Lord, thank you that we can do this experiment. Thank you that when we go to visit the orphans in Haiti, we will know how they feel a little bit. And we will have more compassion.

It’s been well worth it already, but we’re still in the honeymoon phase.

Day 2

Dinner: left-over turkey soup and french bread pizza. And we finished off the last of the lettuce and tomato. I would normally make up more homemade salad dressing, but what’s the point? We used the inferior bottled stuff in the fridge.

The kids had their first rude awakening in the area of waste. During the day, one of the kids poured too much milk  and ended up dumping the excess down the drain. The others were traumatized (We have one gallon left.).

“Now you know how Daddy and I feel every time we see you pouring too much milk into your cereal, and wasting it!” I said. They just started at me, solemnly. Oh, I’m going to love this experiment.

After dinner we all gathered around the piano and sang this song, which we have sung many times in church, but it suddenly takes on new meaning:

You are my supply, my breath of life

And still more awesome than I know

You are my reward, worth living for,

And still more awesome than I know

All of you is more than enough for

All of me, for every thirst and every need

You satisfy me with your love

And all I have in you is more than enough!

Day 1, Our Experiment Begins

After dinner tonight Dave and I unveiled our experiment to the girls. I was overjoyed with how receptive they were. Anna even got excited, thinking about the creative meals we would come up with. She asked if she could cook them.

I noticed Sarah was in tears, and it came out that she thought she would have to give up the big Easter Egg Hunt we have planned for her 13th birthday later this month. Dave and I decided that we’d make an eggception for her birthday.

Ruthie didn’t take it quite so easily. It’s difficult for a seven-year-old to comprehend words like “temporary,” “experiment.” I could sense through her quivery voice and the nature of her questions that she was picturing us  foraging in the woods for edible berries in a matter of days.

It was decided that we would re-visit the matter every week and see how everyone is doing with it. We would make it a contest to see who could survive the longest. Dave gave me his vote of confidence by telling the girls, “You know who will be the first to give up don’t you? Your mother!” They all laughed and were inspired to get going.

That was last night. This morning the girls poured very little milk into their cereal, I noticed.

I cleaned out the fridge today, so I can show you where we are starting from (Already I feel a strange and wonderful sense of cleansing and purging in my soul. I normally put cleaning the fridge at the end of my to-do list and things grow in there like science experiments, but suddenly I’m inspired to clean out every area of my house!):


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