Homesteaders Food Challenge – A New Way to Live

Well, I’ve been eating what I can accumulate with my own hands for…….ever.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about here’s the project in review:

food challenge 2

Yeah, so I am only eating what I am producing or picking or killing or milking or you get the idea…. with my own hands.

Here’s all the updates from the beginning if you’d like to get the full picture:

I’m on day 79 now and the entire experiment is 101 days long.  Some quick math tells me that I only have 22 days to go.  Which is basically 3 weeks.  Which, compared to 101 days, is nothing.

food challenge 1

How’s it going?  How hard is it?  Am I miserable?  Am I hungry?  Am I having a hard time sticking with the program?

In short:

  • It’s fine.
  • It’s not hard.
  • I’m not miserable.
  • I’m not hungry.
  • It’s easy to stick to (now it is anyway).

If you had asked me these questions during the first week or the first month I would have complained to you for at least an hour.  The sugar detox was brutal.  The cravings were insane.  The lack of carbs was making me nauseous, shaky, headachy and not fun to be around.

Here I am, almost 80 days later, and I don’t even feel like I’m on a restricted diet.

Crazy right?

I’m only eating foods that I gather, kill, raise, grow, pick, harvest, shoot or otherwise obtain myself from our little neck of the woods and it’s no biggie.

duck kill 2

If you raise your food and you want to eat meat, eventually something is going to die.  This duck is dinner.  Sorry.  

“What am I eating?”

Meat:

Pigs – Pork chops, Pork tenderloin, ribs, bacon, sausage, ham, pork steaks, pork cutlets, and anything else from my pigs I raise.

Beef – Steaks, burgers, roasts, ribs, stew, london broil, bones (broth), and anything else from our beef cows.

Deer – All things venison:  ground venison, venison roast, deer legs, even venison sausage.

Chicken – We raise meat chickens every year.  We also end up with our share of roosters from hatching out eggs and buying straight run chicks.  Many of those roosters end up in the freezer.

Duck – I have a love affair with duck.  The fat is blowing my mind right now.  I think duck oil has replaced sugar in my diet.  I crave it and love it.

Dairy:

We have 2 milk cows and I am able to make many dairy products here in our home:  butter, sour cream, cheese, buttermilk, ice-cream and of course lattes!

Veggies:

Good grief – it’s summer and my garden is pretty insane.  I am growing almost everything you see at your local farmer’s market and then some.  There is not a veggie I want to eat that I don’t have growing in my side yard right now.

I have been pleasantly surprised that the amount of produce I am growing has been enough to feed us and provide overflow to can for the winter.  This was one of my concerns when I started this challenge.

Fruit:

Fruit was almost nonexistent at the beginning of this project.

Some fruits we’ve enjoyed during this journey include:  blackberries, strawberries, black raspberries, cantaloupes, watermelons, and peaches.  We were smart enough to freeze strawberries & blackberries when they were “on” (around June) in order to stretch the season.  Having bags of frozen berries has been a huge blessing.

Breads:

I have only 5 exceptions to the eating the foods from my own hands and whole wheat berries are one of them.  Thank goodness.  When there has been little to no food coming from the garden we have survived on eggs, canned goods from last year and homemade bread.  We make everything from pizza crust to slider buns to fried doughnuts to tortillas to loaves.  Without the bread I would probably weigh as much as my 11 year old right now.

Eggs: 

I can’t even imagine how many eggs I’ve consumed in the last 78 days.  Several hundred, for sure.

Yes, we step on their heads and pull. It is a fast, easy, humane way to kill a duck or chicken. To read how & why – go here.

As you can see, I am not lacking in choices or suffering in the variety department.  I have dozens if not a hundred options when it comes to what I will eat on any given day.  If I want to eat Spanish Sausage or BLT’s or Ribeye Steak, or spicy chicken tortillas with cream sauce or Peach Glazed Pork Tenderloin – I can!  I just have to make it (adjusting recipes to adhere to the rules, of course).

I look back to the first weeks of this experiment and smile.  It’s hard to believe it was sooooo hard.  I was struggling with what to cook, what to eat, how to eat and if I was growing enough food.  Today, I don’t even think about it.  I eat what I grow and it is good.  

Dinners are simple and nutritious.

duck kill 6

Plucking time!

The Hard Part

I’ve been saying this from the beginning, so  you are probably tired of hearing it.

The hardest part is the constant cooking.  

I cook 3 meals a day every day and prepare any snacks.  From scratch.

Now, when you think “scratch,” I don’t know if you are thinking “scratch” like I am scratching things right now.

  • If I need a cup of flour – I have to grind up wheat berries.
  • If I want spaghetti, I have to make noodles.
  • If I want chicken tortillas, I have to make tortillas.
  • If I want a burger I have to make the buns.
  • If I want pizza I have to make crust.
  • If I want potato chips- I have to dig up, slice and fry my own potatoes.
  • If I want a cracker, I have to make crackers.  Who, in their right mind, makes crackers?  Me!

These are things that many “from scratch” chefs purchase from wonderful supermarkets.  Good night – I know why!

Convenience.  Time.  Sanity.  

Making crackers, noodles and tortillas is not my idea of a good time.  I’m happy I can do it.  I know they are healthier.  I am thrilled that I know how, but once I reach day 101 you can bet I’ll never make a tortilla again.  Ever.

I have not eaten at a restaurant or other establishment through this entire thing.  I am cooking everything I’m eating.  Even when we eat out (in restaurants or at family/friend’s homes) I take my food with me (that I cooked beforehand).

This makes for a lot of planning ahead.  A lot of cooking.  A lot of preparation so I don’t end up away from home with nothing to eat.

The most asked question I am getting as I embark on the “final turn” of this endeavour is:

“What are you going to eat when it’s over?”

The answer is easy.  I am going to go to a restaurant and eat something that I did not cook.

Please and thank you and amen.

glazed duck

Into the oven he goes! Duck for dinner.

3 weeks to go!

The countdown is on.

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Love,

Candi

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