My top priority was finding reasonably tasty substitutions or alternatives for the foods I cannot live without. My biggest concern is milk. I drink 2 gallons of whole milk a week. Tuesday I tried powdered milk (*hork*) and Wednesday I tried evaporated milk (*gag*). My friend Jen pointed me to a blog she had found, Family Home Evening. Crystal had written a post that has made my milk worth drinking again! Basically, mix your regular milk with the reconstituted powdered milk (half and half). Then gradually wean yourself off regular milk by increasing the ratio of powdered to regular milk. I mixed 1 quart of whole milk with 1 quart of powdered milk. She didn't stop with the tips there - she also suggests adding vanilla and sugar to the powdered milk to help disguise it. So I did that as well - adding 1 tsp sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla to my "half and half". I made sure it sat in the fridge overnight so it would be ice cold for my morning shake and cereal. The moment of truth came, and I was blown away! I have even treated myself to several glasses of plain milk with no need for chocolate or strawberry powder. I'm almost through that pitcher of "half and half" and am ready to make the leap to a half quart whole/one & a half quart powdered mix. I drank through it so fast I forgot to get a picture of the full pitcher!Side note: My Pampered Chef Quick Stir pitcher is perfect for mixing the milk - if you don't have one, get one!!!
The next big thing is yogurt. Lily eats 6 ounces of yogurt every day. I have had several friends tell me how easy it is to make yogurt in your crockpot. There are a million sources out there for this one - just google crockpot yogurt. The top four links that show up were my main sources. Since I'm trying to do this all "food storage-y", I decided I would have to make my yogurt with dry powdered milk. I wasn't able to find a recipe using all powdered milk, so I used a trick that I read on one of the blogs - unflavored gelatin. This yogurt turned out so incredibly thick and creamy, even Mike couldn't believe it was from powdered milk.
As for eggs, I had 2 dozen in the fridge that my friend Beth suggested I freeze. Just crack one egg into a mini tupperware container or ice cube tray and break the yoke, then freeze overnight. The next day, pop them out and store them in a freezer bag. She says it's best to let them thaw in the fridge the day before you use them, but she's been able to thaw them in the microwave for 10-15 seconds at a time. Beth also reminded me that you can use plain yogurt instead of sour cream in cooking!
I've given up on finding a good substitution for cream cheese, or cottage cheese, so I used a Walmart gift card to buy those in bulk before we started our 6 week adventure. That counts, right?
In my online searching, I found some marvelous websites for other ingredient substitution. Joy of Baking has a big list. The Pioneer Woman's Tasty Kitchen has a whole category of homemade ingredients that I'm just dying to try and make.