2. Cook for an entire week from scratch

My #2 is officially checked off the list.  We all survived, and I don’t think anyone lost any weight including my toddler.  Although he wasn’t particularly happy.

I put this on my list out of a general feeling that I was “slacking” in the kitchen department.  In the weeks since we kicked off this challenge, I’ve been gradually trying new recipes, new vegetables, new techniques.  I actually didn’t think going the whole week would be too hard.  And in the end, in some way it wasn’t.  But in some ways it was actually kind of hard.

So the main problem was that I didn’t plan well enough for my weekly grocery trip.  And in this house there is only one trip per week, generally.  No time for going back.  So I slightly underestimated just how much fruit and veggies we would eat in a week.  Second, I neglected to check my stores of non-perishables, and ended up running out of flour, sugar, vanilla*, and rice.  And we made it through all 18 eggs by mid-week as well.  I did pick up some of that stuff during a Target run mid week.  But still, by the end, I was literally up early on Friday making something that bore a remarkable resemblance to Hamburger Helper, except all from scratch.  I found one sad pack of hamburger meat in the freezer, half a package of macaroni noodles, one bell pepper, one onion, plus a sauce of cream+butter+all scraps of cheese remaining in fridge.   (Healthy, eh!)  I should’ve taken a picture.  But I didn’t, because why focus on the low parts?  (such as how I’m officially the world’s worst bread maker?)  Let’s talk about the high points instead.

Peach Apple Pie, with Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream, with Homemade Vanilla

The recipe I followed was roughly from Allrecipe’s Peach Pie. This is a great recipe because I took some liberties and it still turned out awesome. First, I used some peaches that I’d frozen from last fall. Did you know that in Colorado, peaches don’t come from Georgia? They come from the Western Slope, in September. A very “Colorado” thing to do is to drive to the mountains over Labor Day weekend and buy a crate-ful. So our nanny actually brought us some this year, and I froze all the ones we didn’t eat immediately in some sugar.

However, the recipe called for 10 fresh peaches and I only had 2 cups of frozen peach pieces.  So I supplemented with a Lady Alice apple. In retrospect, the pie was still kinda thin. I probably could’ve thrown in another apple.  Here’s a progress shot where you can see the apples:

Oh ps.  I bought the pie crust.  It wasn’t from scratch.  So sue me.  My last tip is this: after the pie is done cooking, just cut the oven off and leave it in there to cool. This supposedly helps the pie set up, and my certainly did.

And what is peach pie without ice cream? Backstory: I love making ice cream.  If you want to make some, I highly recommend Ben & Jerry’s recipe book.  These take, oh, 5 minutes? to mix up.  No cooking custards.  I do love a cooked custard ice cream, but you can’t beat the ease of these recipes – just dump it all in and freeze. And the ice cream is SO good.

So now, for my final trick… I mentioned that I ran out of vanilla. And that reminded me that I had a Christmas gift in the pantry that I didn’t follow through with – homemade vanilla.  The recipe is 1 cup vodka plus three vanilla beans scored in half plus a few week…  Here’s a shot of my home brew:

It seems to work well too.

So there.  The pinnacle of my 100% homemade week.

For this week, I was very excited to buy bread, and nutella.  But the fact is, we’re still eating more from-scratch than we used to, so that’s my goal accomplished!

About Mary-Hall

loyal southerner, exceedingly frugal, compulsive DIYer
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