Saturday, March 19, 2011

cold and rainy with a side of war...

What a dreary and depressing day! I have spent the majority of it transferring my old blog content to my new blog site. So not my thing! I felt so frustrated that I took a little break to read the news and check into Facebook, where I saw that my beloved President Obama has just ordered air strikes on Libya.  I really don't think that is the best use of our money right now. I'm no politician, but, um, Japan, public schools... anybody, anybody????

Add to this the crappy weather and the chick I hatched this morning with its internal organs on the outside (homesteading isn't always pretty) anxiety level has been at Orange alert all week and none of this helps.

But this did, one of the websites (or is it a blog) that I follow, The Organic Sister, posted an amazingly insightful entry called "11 signs that your life is demanding personal growth...". I think she hit 10 for me!  I am in transition with my business, but we are also in seasonal, lunar and environmental transition.  Maybe I'm not crazy. Or menopausal. Maybe I am sensitive to the world around me. Hmmm?? 

Stay dry and listen to your heart! That's my motto for tomorrow..for tonight, cheese, bread wine and fire. :-)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring fever takes over

I've been a bad, bad blogger. I was all excited about the food experiment. After the first week, I had only spent about $50 on groceries and we were eating great meals, super cheap.

Then, it was a sunny and Spring-like day and I wanted nothing more than a barbequed cheeseburger and tater tots. Yup, you heard me.  I completely failed the food experiment.   Of course, then people started telling me that they were enjoying the posts and felt inspired....I promise, when the Spring rapture ends, I will do more dinners under $10.

In the meantime, we have a new family member!

This is Sienna.  She is a purebred mutt. Her mom is a Border Collie/Lab and her dad is a Chow mix (she gets her gorgeous color and wooly coat from him).  Emma Bean is happy to have a new friend.   They sun together... They snooze together

They (reluctantly) share their toys

Little Sienna is a farm dog, to be sure. She is right at home in the greenhouse among my packets of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

The cats are unsure (isn't this like the cat version of Charlie's Angels??)But, in spite of the poo poo/pee-pee accidents and the whining, sleep deprived nights John and I are sure...

Sienna is home!  Many thanks to her "bio" mom and dad, Sean and Erin!  Nighty-night

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Food Experiment-Day 4

Salmon Cakes on Baby Greens with Rice

I kinda used this recipe, but didn't have or want everything that was in it. In place of bread crumbs, I took a few handfuls of wheat thins type crackers and crunched them up with a wooden spoon. I used Red onion and skipped the dill, parsley and butter.  Also, I always bake them because I don't like to get spattered by hot oil and, well, deep-fried food, not my thing.

2 cans salmon @ $1.69

1/4 onion- 10 cents

3 eggs- free

crushed crackers-10 cents

cost- $3.58

Organic spring mix salad-$2.00

Massa Organics rice- $2.00

A word about Massa Organics... They are awesome! They are a family farm near Chico, so your rice is from the USA! It is crunchy, sweet and amazing.  And, at $4. for 2 pounds, a steal!   Also, their Almond butter will make you drool! Seriously! I hide it.  I think they sell at farmers markets, through SCLF in Santa Cruz, and by mail, so please check them out!

Garnished with lemon from a random tree.  Total cost for this meal was just $7.58. We had dinner for 3 and 1 lunch the next day, so that's $1.97 per meal!



Food Experiement-Day 3

Crockpot Chicken Chili and Cornbread

3 chicken breast (from the stock up sale) -$2.50

4 cans of beans (black, kidney and white) on sale $1. ea-$4.00

1 can salsa verde-$1.29

1 can diced tomatoes- .88 cents

I totally made this up as I went and added chili powder, minced garlic and turmeric. Crockpot on high for a few hours and, Yum!  Total cost $8.67. (add a little for the cheese and sour cream garnishes)

For the cornbread, I used this recipe and it cost about $2.00.

So, total cost was $10.67.  We had 6 (one of which was Annie's friend, day 2, who had chili for the first time and loved it!) of us for dinner and John took leftovers for lunch.  That's $1.52 per meal!

Ok, I know it's only day 3, but I am pretty sure that I can rock the $10. (or less) meal every night!  Tomorrow, we get all continental and fancy! Woot-woot!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Food Experiment-Day 2

Annie had a friend staying a few days and she doesn't dig vegetables.  Since it was just the 3 of us tonight, I kept it simple.

A couple of weeks ago, I picked up some Annie's organic mac and cheese on sale 2 for $3.  Added butter and milk for a total of $3.75  This served 3 bowls for dinner and 2 more for lunch the next day. .75 cents per serving!

Annie and I also had a salad of spinach, beets, blood oranges, navel oranges (all organic) and 2 chopped up leftover chicken breast (bought on sale last week, 6 breasts for $5, so I stocked up!) and a balsamic vinegar dressing.  I have been making this for my to-go lunches often this winter. I like to add grapefruit and red onions, but didn't have any tonight.  It's a meal in itself!

Organic spinach $2.00

2 chicken breasts  $1.75

2 cups organic beets (I cooked and marinated them) $2.00

2 organic blood oranges (def, the splurge at $2.99 lb)  $2.00

1 organic navel orange $ 25 cents

for a total of $7.50 for the salads. That's $3.75 each!

Dinner for 3 and 2 lunches= $11.25

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Food Experiment-Day 1

I always assume that everyone has a pretty good ration of food on hand at all times.  I have staples (like onions, pastas, beans, flour, etc...) in what I think is an average amount, whatever that is.  I am also only including food. Not toiletries, alcohol, etc...And am not going to figure in seasonings, or tablespoons of baking powder and such...I mention this so as not to fool myself (or you) into thinking that I am a miracle worker with the grocery dollar.  It's my disclaimer.

First grocery trip I spent $35.06.

For dinner I made a Potato Kale soup.  Super simple, comforting on a cold winter's night and everyone likes it.  Instead of buying a loaf of artisan bread, I made buttermilk biscuits.

1 red onion (.25 cents)

3 TBP garlic (I have a jar of minced that I want to use up)

3 Lg local organic carrots  (50 cents)

10 XL leaves Toscano Kale, organic and home grown (free)

5 Lg potatoes not organic, bought in bulk, on sale (50 cents)

pot of water, boullion cube, salt and pepper.  Total cost- $1.25

Yes, $1.25 for a hot, nutritious dinner for 5!  There were also left overs enough for 2 lunches, making the cost per meal 17 cents!  If I had used homegrown carrots, onion and potatoes...FREE MEAL!

Buttermilk drop biscuits

flour, buttermilk, baking soda, baking powder, butter, salt ($2.20)

The total cost for dinner (not including the leftovers for lunch), day 1, was $3.45, or 69 cents per person.  Can't beat that...or can I?


The March Food experiment

I'm a homebody. I want for nothing but to roam around the house and garden, working on this and that, all day long.  The only downside to this is the pay. Um, there is none.  So, as I decide that I have burned out on my current business and want to switch to full time farmer, I have to do some quick thinking to figure out how I will pay my share of the living expenses here.  If I can justify the (initial) loss of income to myself, I will feel better about jumping ship.

The first thing to do, of course, is to look at our expenses and where we can cut them. I have already done that and am on the wall about disconnecting the cable (I do love me some tv), and have moved on to our grocery bill.  I used to know exactly what I spent on groceries each month, but in the past 2 years I've just been buying without noticing the cost.  So I was SHOCKED when I calculated that we spend $800-1000 a month on groceries!  FAIL!

This month I am tracking every penny, every meal, every left over.  I will be the only one buying groceries, planning and cooking the meals.  I am going to see just how cheaply I can feed our family of 5 by cooking from scratch with whole, local, homegrown and organic foods.  Not in every case, of course, but primarily.  I will also consider what I am paying for items that I could be growing myself, if I was a full-time farmer.

Hopefully, by the end of the month, I can be inspired and confident enough to follow my heart.  I think I can. I think I can...