Archive for September, 2008

under the weather

Jane and I are under the weather.  We are taking an echinacea, mint, and nettle tincture as well as broths and keeping warm.  Swollen glands, runny nose, slight fever…it all is slowing me down.  Who is going to soak grains then rinse and dry them, who will keep up with the rotating out of summer clothes, who will plan meals, watch the budget, and teach school.

Oh yeah, life keeps moving even when mom is sick…thankfully I have a husband who isn’t afraid to dig in and get his hands dirty.  Hopefully I can sneak a nap in here and there and I’d better be feeling good by Monday as my garage is smelling like a cider house in preparation for apple day!


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This is the second update in my Grocery Challenge series.  I have no idea how many updates there will be, but they will last for approximately two weeks.  If your interested in using up some of your stores in order to re-direct funds join me.  I would be happy to link through to anyone else doing the same.

I made a super-duper cheap meal tonight and it was at minimum half-way nourishing!  I just had to share it with you all.

First, a month or so ago I was at the store and saw they had bags of split yellow peas on markdown for $.25 so I bough 6 bags of them.  I have never cooked with dried peas, split peas, or yellow peas.  I was clueless, but figured they had to have some nutritional value (there were also cans of organic tomato paste for $.30 that I bought a bunch of too but that’s for something else.)  Tonight’s supper took 1/5th of one bag.  I have a feeling I bought enough for a year or so.  Any good split-pea recipes anyone?

When it came time for planning tonights supper I searched online and found this recipe and had all the ingredients I needed on hand.  I made it and while it was a tad-bit lacking it wasn’t bad.  I started by soaking the split peas for 5 hours like they suggested with a pinch of baking soda (they really would have benefited by a longer soak, 10 hours perhaps?)  Then I followed the directions and ended up with a well cooked dish full of onions, millet, split-peas, and spices.  I wished I had some cilantro or something to throw in with it for a bit of green and flavor.  Oh, I added butter as well…I just can’t do that low-fat of a dish.

That dish with prices rounded up (millet $.50, split peas $.05, onion $.25, garlic $.05=$.85 rounded up to $1) as not to have to account for spices was about $1 and we have enough left for the girls and I to lunch on.  The best part, however, was that it wasn’t $1 out of my pocket as it all came from my cupboards.  I served it with roasted chicken.  A friend had chickens for 4-H and when the fair was over had the Amish butcher them all.  She just wanted rid of the birds and was charging $5 a bird…I bought $7 (would have bought 10 but again we are out of freezer space.)  It got smeared with butter, pepper, a bit of cayenne, and some garlic.

My whole meal ended up totaling around $6 and we still have enough for the girls and I a lunch as well as chicken enough for one other dish (curry, stir-fry, chicken salad, etc.)  To be more nourishing I really should have included a fermented veggie or a salad with a tasty home-made dressing.  Mondays are tough, though, with swim and soccer both falling on this night (for the last time this week as soccer is almost done.)  I am very pleased with my accomplishment.  

Other things I am going to try to tackle this week and would love advice on: making crackers, split-pea recipes, salmon for supper tomorrow night,  cabbage ideas for my family who does not like sauerkraut, and changes in nutritional needs for kids in sports.  An odd mix, but it’s what is on my plate.

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Economy *edited

Warning, this post is a slight rant, a tad bit unorganized, and has nothing to do with what I normally write about.  But I can’t keep quiet any longer. 

Today is just one of those days that I imagine everyone is listening to the radio, watching the news, etc.  I’m a registered Republican (okay, everyone gasp), however that does not mean I will be voting straight down the ticket on names that have the magic “R” beside it.  I prefer to think things through, realize the assets of both parties, research the candidates, and vote accordingly.

I’ll be really honest on my position on all of this.  It stinks!  Why, WHY should our government be bailing out failed business practices that in some cases were forced on the businesses by our congress?  How did it get this out of control…so out of control that some are talking that we are facing serious inflation and possible depression era situation? 

If it were such an “emergency” situation, why are we waiting so long to bring it to vote?  Why didn’t we take care of this last Monday?  Something smells very fishy about all of this, I’m sorry but it just isn’t adding up.  It started back (as far as I can trace it) in 2004 when concerns about Freddie Mac were brought up…so much for dealing about that. 

The way I understand this plan, the individual suffers greatly.  The obvious would be the shear amount of money (tax-payer money, of course) that is involved in this bill.  Not to mention, it would give the government so many more doors into “private” finance, undermines the capitalism our country has built it’s found on, and will alter the way the financial markets work forever.  Do we need our government involved in our finances?  I think not…seeing as it policies requiring banks to give loans without proof of identity, without a down-payment, etc are what has contributed to the situation.

Our constitution preamble states “promote the general welfare” not guarantee it!  Why is it that our government is currently trying to guarantee that welfare and how can they?  I tell you I am just infuriated at all of this. 

I have two messages to send to our government:

First, let’s face it, our country is in debt, big-time debt.  Why are we looking to increase that debt?  Before setting aside $700 billion, would someone PLEASE spell this out for the good American people:

  • Why is this bill NECESSARY?
  • What happens for sure if it passes?
  • What could happen if it passes?
  • What happens for sure if it doesn’t pass?
  • What could happen if it doesn’t pass?
  • How will it affect our 401K’s?
  • How will it affect our local banks?
  • How will it affect our mortgage, savings, and jobs?

And to me, the most important question:

  • What is being done to eliminate policy that encourages financial practices like this?

This is most important to me as I do not want to pass this problem to my children and grandchildren.

Second, QUIT PLAYING POLITICS.  If there were ever a time to forget about re-elections, presidential elections, and all the high-school-like drama that is involved in keeping you seat on committees and so forth.  NOW IS THAT TIME!


While spell-checking this post, the House voted on this bill.  Whatever your leanings are on this issue I urge you to contact your reps with your support or dislike of their vote.  To find out how your rep voted here is a link: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2008/roll674.xml#NV  

Needless to say, I was very pleased to see that my rep voted against this and I plan on contacting him after this little note to let him know he has this household’s support!

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officially sad

Once again, I’ve had to cancel my apple day. 

My best friend just called, has her arm in a sling, and is likely going to the doctor.  I hate to delay again, but completely understand (it’s usually me canceling on her.)  I probably could go ahead and do it alone, but why when I have my best friend willing to help and also my grandma who is itching to stop by as well.  Grandma can’t make it tomorrow either due to a doctor appointment. Half the fun is sharing the time and sharing the end product. 

So, NEXT Monday gals is it.  Third time’s the charm and all.  If next Monday comes and my friend is still hurting she’ll just have to come and sit and visit while I do it…I’ll even move a comfy chair into the kitchen for her.  Even with kids underfoot, I know I can use some time with another grown-up and though her children are older than mine I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt her to get out and gab a bit as well.  I probably talked her ear off tonight when she called…sorry about that!

Get better D~ so we can visit!

Meanwhile hubby has moved all the apples to a cool spot in the corner of the garage.  He’s so wonderful 🙂

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Scroll down to learn a little bit about my real-time apple preserving day tomorrow!

This is the first update in my Grocery Challenge series.  I have no idea how many updates there will be, but they will last for approximately two weeks.  If your interested in using up some of your stores in order to re-direct funds join me.  I would be happy to link through to anyone else doing the same.

I went to the store to get a few things for this week.  I had to buy a box of diapers.  I didn’t want to, but the twins are still wetting about 2 a day each and I expect this to be out last box….hooray!  That alone took $13 out of my pocket, though.  I went in the store with $52 and came out with $2 and change.  Here is what I bought:

  • carrots-$2.50
  • celery-$1.58
  • string cheese-$6.22
  • shredded cheese-$2.22
  • sour cream-$1.97
  • 3 dozen eggs-$7.59
  • canadian bacon-$3.36
  • 2 packages of bagels-$2.96
  • flour tortillas-$2.02
  • lunch meat (turkey)-$2.98

TOTAL: $33.40 in food (and $14. 63 in diapers) 

I see already a few of you shaking your heads on a couple things.  First I’ll address the eggs.  My farm can not handle our egg intake (3-5 dozen a week.)  I know this time of year they start to have less and less eggs so I need to buy them.  I’m  looking for an Amish farm or other farmer that will have a steady supply…until then it’s the rather pricey cage free, organic, non-soy eggs that aren’t near as good as the farm eggs.

I have to first honor my husband and the thought of living off whatever I create from the cupboards set him into a panic.  So, I needed to honor his required needs and compromise on what I could.  Instead of dry boxed cereal, he has decided a whole wheat bagel with a slice of cheese, canadian bacon, and scrambled egg would be okay.  I’m thrilled. Though it isn’t that great  on the budget, it is better for his health than Frosted Flakes and a stepping stone to even better choices.  The idea of not having lunch meat to fall on for lunch panics him as well (as though I would let him starve!)  So one package of all natural, organic, and thankfully on sale lunch meat…hope it lasts him a good while. 

Also, tortillas.  I’ve  tried a few times to make these.  I can manage the corn as I fry them crispy in the end for tostadas.  The flour ones, however, I always flop on.  I am thinking a tortilla press would help, but again the budget.  So while it would be healthier to make my own, I can’t quite get the hang of it…someday.

I also will include in update one a reference to my CSA post for the week.  I spend $57.50 on two boxes of produce (not so much by my choice, but you’ll have to read the post) and our 3 gallons of milk.  And, wow, was it a haul of produce!

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FYI, tomorrow is an apple day!  Yesterday evening, we went ot the in-laws and picked apples and pressed apples.  I am hoping to document how to ferment some cider as well as a day of making applesauce.  We are running out of fridge space fast (as I assume other people who ferment are this time of year.)  If I can’t fanangle more space than I think I have, I might have to can some of this juice (freezer space is overflowing into my parents freezer. It’ll help in situations like this to have goodies stored up so I will do what I can.

So check here tomorrow.  There will be multiple posts, apple recipes, pictures…lots of pictures!

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CSA Report

Today, the kickoff of my “grocery Challenge” I get stuck with an entire extra CSA box…figures.  I’ve been delivering to a gal for the entire summer…ALL summer and never, ever has she just not been there, not called, nothing.  So instead of $20, I am paying $45 this week out of the budget for our CSA (not complaining, I got a TON of food for$45, but I didn’t have the time budgeted to prepare it.  Good thing I’m not used to a cookie-cutter day 🙂

So here is what was in one box, so I got double of this:

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 2 butternut squash
  • 2 spaghetti squash (need recipe, anyone have one?)
  • 1 pie pumpkin
  • 6 tomatoes
  • 3 onions
  • 8 peppers (2 red, 2 yellow, 4 green)
  • 1 cauliflour
  • 1 cabbage
  • 8 red apples
  • 4 yellow apples

Quite a stash to get double of isn’t it.   16 peppers, 24 apples on top of what our tree is giving us, 12 tomatoes!!!!  My counters are piled high with peppers and tomatoes and the squash and pumpkins need a home in the basement corner.  I can not believe it is that time already for wrapping and storing squash.  And cabbage, I’m planning on two jars of sauerkraut, but I still have a head left from last week…what to do with all that cabbage?  It’s a healthy abundance I’ll enjoy preserving and serving fresh.  I’m thinking I need to start freezing some onions and peppers for use in winter soups and stews.

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