Thursday, May 31, 2007

love me, love my budget.

a few months ago, i was having a meeting with a man who teaches money management classes. he was telling me all about how people just don't keep track of their money, how it creates stress in marriage, how people could save if they just paid attention, etc. this was work-related, but hit pretty close to home. very close to home. i'd been in denial that our financial issues (none major, but normal. and normal in america isn't healthy) were our own fault - we were both used to managing our own money; how do you keep track when one person does mostly freelance work; we HAVE to fly home to portland every 3 months for our own mental well-being; i NEED new clothes, and this is just how much people spend, right? so you charge things as needed and dip into the savings, and spend money when you have it, then pull back when the account gets low, right? not anymore. that meeting inspired The Budget. and, friends, The Budget is one of the smartest things we've ever done. just staying in the kitchen here for blogging purposes: when i first started tracking how much we spent, in january, i think, i spent more than $400 a month on groceries, and together more than $200 eating out. now we spend $70 a week on groceries, and $100 a month on eating out. and we still eat mostly organic, as locally as possible, and almost exclusively from the farmer's market and co-op. good, huh? to be honest, $70 a week is fairly low to keep up the pantry. once every few months, i'll blow some more cash when deals are good. this month, for instance, was the "truckload sale" at the co-op, and i put a little more in the budget to take advantage and stock up. every few months, i'll go to indianapolis for work and use that opportunity to stop in at trader joe's. budget food shopping tips: 1. use cash. when the cash is gone for the week, you're done shopping. 2. get needs first. my first stop with the grocery money is the farmer's market. then, i wait for the 5% discount day at the co-op to do the majority of the shopping. (granted, there's usually a trip in the middle as well. my planning skills aren't THAT great.) at the grocery, put your grains, proteins, etc. in the cart before moving to the chocolate chips, cheese, and various delicious non-neccessities. no one needs capers. buy capers last. 3. look at sales ahead of time online if possible. 4. make your own (bread, yogurt, frozen burritos, ice cream, granola, trail mix, muffins) if you have the time and inclination. 5. love the food you're with. tonight, we had a kind-of chili with no onions, and no cornbread to go with it because the oven's out. so i fried an egg for each of us, put it on top of the tomato-bean-kale stew, and served it with a toasted english muffin. not exactly cookbook material, but it was completely tasty, satisfying, organic, and with a salad, nutrionally sound. so it's doable, i swear. we eat three squares on this amount, with $20/each a week spending money to augment. for me, this means afternoon cookies more often than it should. for my dearest huband, it means frequent afternoon coffees. morning coffee is covered. alcohol is in a separate line item that includes going out for drinks. so that's The Budget. it's a real spreadsheet and everything. and i love it.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

low impact anxiety

first, hello to new friends clicking over from crunchy chicken (also linked on the right there, for your surfing convenience). if you haven't read her, she makes you think about what you're doing or not doing to be more eco-friendly, but doesn't make you feel like a jerk. don't we all need a little more of that in our lives? more nudging, less judging? so, low impact week. i won't lie to you: the choices i decided to make won't exactly be easy. this is why i have a blog! support and accountability for this kind of thing. let's review my choices, shall we? line dry your clothes instead of using the dryer* is it cheating if we just don't wash towels that week? i normally toss the bath towels in every week, but we have plenty in the rotation. their drying rate (indoors, at least) just can't outpace the moldy smell that can take hold in wet towels. oh well. outside of sharing the neighbor's clothesline, we'll just trade towels out. take shorter showers and/or use a water saving showerhead hm, that's fine. except in the morning, when i'm too tired to remember things like conservation. a girl can only do her best. and maybe make a case for leg waxing? (this is a good question for our friend at crunchy chicken) minimize pre-packaged foods and make more of your own from scratch on my honor, i will do my best to use NO NEW PLASTIC. (yes, i WAS a girl scout.) this may become an issue at the farmer's market, where they like to pre-bag your greens, but i'll weasel around it. is this a midwest thing? in portland and eugene (oregon), they would normally just have bins of produce, and weigh everything after the fact. here, everything is pre-measured. lots of it is, anyway. compost your food waste and soiled paper products* as soon as we get the 5-gallon buckets from the community garden, this is in effect. can't wait! will it keep raccoons out of the garbage? that remains to be seen. take the bus or other public transportation to work and on errands* ooh, this is tough. i will have to wake up - get this - an extra ten minutes earlier. it's harder in practice than on paper. confession: i can get to work whenever i want between 8 and 9. before 8:30 is just my chosen timeframe. this is an office "best boss ever" situation which i appreciate every day. sign up for an alternative energy plan if available in your area the budget can handle it, but can the husband? i left this one out on my earlier post: don't use paper towels; when you can, use cloth napkins or towels instead (e.g. public restrooms)* public restrooms, huh? like, at work? oooh, friends. will this go over? my reading on the office quirky scale is already quivering in the orange zone, what with my refusal to use a styrofoam bowl that one time, and the vegetarianism and all. and i don't like to wear shoes when i'm not with a client. sue me. cloth napkins will be procured for home use. i will look into reusable towels for the bathroom at work. the community garden supervisor razed all the weeds in the plot next to mine, and now mine is officially the saddest-looking plot in the place. this weekend, if it's not too rainy, some serious food is going into that plot. i envision carrots. i envision marigolds next to my tomatoes. i envision whatever they're selling at the market on saturday. it's going to be a beautiful thing pretty soon, strawberries or no.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

i love my grill pan.

oh, grill pan. you're so useful, and so enticing this time of year, especially for a girl without an outdoor grill. i'm in good company, too. the grill pan is great for vegetarians because nothing falls (ahem: vegetables?) through the grate, and if your tofu sticks, not all is lost. my tofu didn't stick tonight, probably due to having a healthy dose of oil in the marinade. we also had some coconut rice, spinach, and peas. coconut rice from deborah madison. i think i skimped a bit on the salt - it was a little bland, if satisfying otherwise. there's plenty of rice and tofu left over for lunches tomorrow if i cook up a couple broccoli branches to go with it. pictures that had yet to make it online:

salad with strawberries, blue cheese, and basalmic vinegrette. very very good. i just stepped aside and let the strawberries and cheese do the work.

chips and salsa are a must at our house. really. as a matter of fact, our wedding vows should have gone, "to have and to hold, for richer or poorer, as long as there are chips and salsa in the house." i'm vegetarian, he's not, etc., but we work through this as long as tortilla chips are on the scene. the problem? plastic packaging. my brother suggests making my own, and, while i haven't ruled that out, homemade supplies would be quickly exhausted. comprimise? el milagro, with the girl on the front, and just a small plastic window to show you, i suppose, that there are indeed tortilla chips inside. *Eedit: there's a layer of plastic on the inside of the bag. maybe i just didn't want to see this before. the paper, sadly enough, seems to be just a little more packaging.

until garden of eatin' goes paper, it's all el milagro all the way. the ingredients? stone ground corn, water, corn oil, salt, trace of calcium hydroxide. works for me! (edit: sad face at confronting the truth of so much plastic.)

Monday, May 28, 2007

oven-free pizza recipe

i've been reading a little about grilled pizzas this weekend, and strangely enough, my friend mari posted about the same thing. so it was kismet, right? we had to have grilled pizza tonight, or something along those lines. the finished product was de-li-ci-OUS, in my opinion. brian didn't seem to mind eating it at all. market pizza ingredients: half pound oyster mushrooms handful of arugula (cleaned, stemmed if needed) ball fresh mozzarella tomato sauce of your liking (we used a can of fire-roasted crushed tomatoes, doctored with the usual suspects) loaf french bread olive oil salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flake clean the mushrooms, and chop into toothsome pieces. sautee, season, and pour off extra moisture if needed. tear arugula. when mushrooms start to brown, add arugula. as soon as arugula starts to wilt, take pan off heat and cover. heat tomato sauce. slice a 6-inch portion of french bread in half. heat grill pan to high, and brush on olive oil. place bread cut-side down until just starting to toast. cut mozzarella into small pieces. when bread is toasted, take off grill pan, slather with a little tomato sauce, cover about half the surface area with mozz, and fill in the gaps with mushroom/arugula mixture. return to grill pan (cut-side up now, i hope you realize), cover, and turn pan off. when cheese just barely starts to melt and everything is hot, remove, cut, and serve. mmm, fancy french bread pizza! delicious! other mushrooms should work just as well, but the oyster/arugula combo was really doing it for me tonight. i apologize if you're more exact in your cooking than i am. let me know if you have questions.

hey! those are MY strawberries!

when we had our start-up pick-a-plot meeting at the community garden in march, the garden guy told us that they'd never had much trouble with rabbits, deer, or people getting in and eating up the goods, though there wasn't much to deter anyone/thing determined to get in. well, the latter is true, at least this year. a deer came in and chomped my strawberries down to stalks. another gardener and i compared notes - she lost some of her peppers. i imagine she meant bell peppers, because, after my cursory research, i've learned that hot peppers are one way to deter deer from the garden. guess i need to get a new spray bottle for hot pepper sauce/water, and fill some old stockings with soap. maybe i'll hang the soap and some aluminum foil from the drumstick i fished out of the trash. scare the adorable buggers off. there's plenty of greenery for the deer to enjoy outside the fence. really! they don't need my strawberries! this weekend, we made some chocolate-covered strawberries with dark dagoba chocolate and small, local strawberries. wow. so good and so simple. perfect strawberry-to-chocolate ratio. delicious!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

lettuce: great success!

red leaf lettuce is invading every plot of the garden. lettuce alert! i thinned out a little more today to add to the too-spicy "spicy salad mix" from the market. whoo, that stuff is strong. i like a little interest to my salad mix, but it's a little much. does anyone have advice on starting seeds? mine are just growing straight up, and not developing leaves the way i think they should. what am i missing? maybe i'll just start more in the ground... to liz: i don't know what happened to the nice coffee girl from the market. i liked her beans, and would love to buy them if i could find them. just went to bloomingfoods to pick up a pound of french roast, and i forgot to leave a co-op comment to that effect. the comment board is one of my favorite things about bloomingfoods, or co-ops in general. you really do get a say, even if you just can't seem to make the board meetings...

Saturday, May 26, 2007

summer market bounty

i know it's only may, but to me, when school is out, and you're sweating at 10:00am in your tank top, it's summer. bounty procured: arugula strawberries siberian kale baby spinach turnips mixed salad greens broccoli eggs oyster mushrooms heirloom cherry tomato plant peas! is that all? it seemed like a lot more while i was carrying it. they also had: tomatoes kohlrabi new potatoes stone-ground pastry and bread flour onions garlic (which i should have gotten) zukes cukes lots and lots of greens. my problem lately has been not buying enough greens, because i don't want to leave them unused. this week, we ought to have plenty (!). the spinach and kale will last until the end of the week, no problem, as long as i can keep out of the spinach until then. we're having arugula with our customary saturday morning eggs today. arugula has that great quality that spinach shares - fresh, wilted, sauteed - don't matter! just toss it in whatever, and you're set. we'll see if brian loves it, too.

Friday, May 25, 2007

rockin' low impact week

heard of it? no? here's the explanation in its original state. enviro-bloggers of all shapes and sizes are taking part the first week of june to reduce our net (there must be a net/internet pun in there somewhere) impact on the environment. want to do it, too? cool! you don't have to be an enviro-anything in particular. just try reducing your impact for a week. it's probably cheaper, anyway. to take part, try to do at least one thing in each category. the starred suggestions might make the most difference. 1. Reduce energy consumption - don't turn the heat above 65 during the day and 60 at night (put on a sweater and dig out those blankies!); for our southern friends, set the A/C to above 90 unplug appliances when not in use that still draw energy when off (like your cell phone charger) turn off the TV unless you are actually watching something use the air dry on your dishwasher instead of heat dry use only cold water in your washing machine line dry your clothes instead of using the dryer* turn off the TV for the week and do something else instead (read a book, visit with friends/family)* 2. Reduce water usage - take shorter showers and/or use a water saving showerhead turn off the water when you're brushing your teeth be aware of water usage when at the kitchen sink - turn it off in between tasks save the water in a bucket that is discharged while warming up the shower and use it to water plants or for other things* 3. Change your food habits - try to buy organic and/or locally grown food minimize pre-packaged foods and make more of your own from scratch use cloth bags at the grocery store instead of getting paper or plastic* don't get take-out if it means non-recyclable packaging* try eating vegetarian or vegan for the week (choose your level from egg/dairy acceptable to no animals products at all)* 4. Reduce your dependence on paper products - print out only what is necessary try out a a 100% recycled TP and tissue brand don't use paper towels; when you can, use cloth napkins or towels instead (e.g. public restrooms)* 5. Reduce your garbage output - recycle everything you can (for your area) donate used items to a charity (many have pick ups and drop off locations) instead of throwing them out or taking them to the dump compost your food waste and soiled paper products* 6. Reduce Single Occupancy Vehicle usage - carpool when taking trips or going out to eat with friends take the bus or other public transportation to work and on errands* 7. Do something that lasts more than a week - replace one bulb per day with a Compact Fluorescent light bulb take your name off of junk mail and mailing lists for catalogs you don't want sign up for an alternative energy plan if available in your area set up a compost bin for your food scraps* set up a rain barrel to capture water for watering your yard* okay. so what am *I* going to do? line dry your clothes instead of using the dryer* we've already cut our dryer usage in about half, but that week, no dryer at all. no putting the sheets in the wash at dinnertime! take shorter showers and/or use a water saving showerhead i love long, hot showers. that week, i'll pop in and out. really! wash my face after i get out, even, maybe. minimize pre-packaged foods and make more of your own from scratch this is my almost-sustainable pledge: no new plastic. that entire week. just watch should be interesting. compost your food waste and soiled paper products* that's a gimme, because the compost bins at the community garden should be about ready by then. next! take the bus or other public transportation to work and on errands* no driving to work unless i have some work-related driving to do. which, unfortunately, i will about 2 days that week. at least i do good work. sign up for an alternative energy plan if available in your area duke energy is kind of evil, but with all that money we'll save on garbage and electricity, we can sign up for the $5-a-month green extra. what will you do? really? make your own yogurt? not a bad idea! make your own yogurt cheese and try to make frozen yogurt out of it? mmm. i'm not so sure that'll work out for you.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

compost - check!

oh, yeah! the compost bins are going up at the garden, so by the end of next week, our food waste don't be going to waste. better yet, there's going to be a 5-gallon bucket "take one, leave one" system, so i won't have to buy anything to store materials before taking them over. seems like we'll be tossing things until that time comes, but, hey. let's be honest. i've been tossing most of my life. this is a good step in the right direction! the yogurt cheese isn't going so well. i lost a lot of volume. should i have used more than a double thickness of cheesecloth, i wonder? maybe i'll head down to sahara mart to see if they have yogurt cheese, because i am GOING to make frozen yogurt this weekend. it is GOING to HAPPEN!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

yogurt update

there's another pot of hot milk on the stove, because i am Bound and Determined to get a batch of frozen yogurt going before the weekend. i ate about a cup of my first batch this morning with blueberries and a waffle. good, but could be better. to be honest, i'm not crazy about the texture of the yogurt. it's okay, but a little runny and, surprisingly, stringy. kind of like a very thin yeast dough. i strained a little through a coffee strainer, and that texture seems nicer. i have yet to try it. tomorrow morning, maybe. googling "yogurt agar" gets you some soy yogurt recipes, but i wonder how adding agar agar could effect the procress. i guess you need cheesecloth to make serious yogurt cheese, so it's off to the cheesecloth store tomorrow. (let's see: if i strain it tomorrow night, we can have frozen yogurt friday night...) hooray! brother john, who, along with wife michelle, gifted us the dead microwave, reminded me in comment form that maybe a toaster oven might be the way to go. it uses a lot less energy than the conventional, and could probably go in the same spot that the microwave is in now. i can see my pitch to brian involving a near-constant supply of fresh cookies. mmm, cookies. now, excuse me. i have to stick my finger in some milk.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

plastic be gone!

well, i just tried my first bite of homemade yogurt, and i'm still alive. i used this recipe, and it turned out, even with no amount of milk given. i'm thinking that maybe tonight i'll strain most of it and make yogurt cheese, which is supposed to be nice for your bagels and such. if you've ever had it, i'll be glad to read about your experiences. i'm also chomping at next week's budget bit to buy another half gallon of milk so we can try this recipe for frozen yogurt. oooh, yeah. i've had an ice cream attachment for my kitchenaid mixer in the freezer, standing at the ready, for months. it's frozen treat time! the yogurt experiment is great, because if it works out, i'm free of the guilt of plastic cuplets. plastic cuplets be gone! the grill pan has been getting a lot of use lately, as our microwave died, conveniently enough, just after the oven went out. think i've convinced my dear, sweet husband that before jumping the gun on buying a new microwave, maybe we ought to just wait it out to see how much we miss it. he called me today from home to inquire as to the best way to re-heat his beans and rice lunch...if that went well, maybe that's a point toward going without. the landlord will be on my "unhappy" list until the oven gets fixed. lucky for them, it's been too hot to bake the last few days anyway. but, yes, there is another recipe i want to try: the famous and much-blogged baked seitan. tasty meat substitute from scratch? count me in! garden news: tonight, the first harvest! baby red lettuce. thinned out a row, and got enough to round out salads for lunches tomorrow. the little guys are taking a little swim in the salad spinner right now. hey, i did it! food from seed to kitchen, for my first time! if i hadn't gotten so eaten up by bugs walking there and back, i'd be even more excited, but the itching is very distracting!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

the list.

the grocery list, as it reads now: vanilla toilet paper pretty much everything. aahh, but no longer, friends! it's such a relief to get out of squeaking-by-on-the-budget mode, then no-fresh-stuff-because-we're-going-out-of-town mode, then no-anything-because-we've-been-squeaking-and-we-just-got-back-into-town mode. today was the semi-annual bloomingfoods truck sale, which is a tent sale in the parking lot with good prices and case discounts if you need that much food. we don't, but i spent just over $40 on three grocery sacks. not bad! beans, canned tomatoes, apple cider vinnegar, frozen food, bread, etc. i'm starting to think that maybe i should take out a larger chunk of grocery budget the first week of each month, and just stock up on whatever's on sale that month at the co-op. then, each week, i just re-stock what we run out of and get fresh produce. speaking of which. today, at the market, there were strawberries. small, red, organic, local strawberries. tonight, we're having a salad with strawberries, oregon blue cheese (see below), red lettuce, red romaine, and basalmic vinnegrette. are you jealous? you're so jealous. also new this week at the market: new potatoes. the (mennonite?) woman who sold them to me was a little put out that i wanted to put them in my own bag. luckilly, she didn't take it on herself to be "helpful" and bag it for me anyway. like at the coffee people stand at the portland airport. i ask for my iced coffee in a paper cup. the cashier asks why. i explain it's to avoid the plastic. he thinks this makes me cool. the barista then hands me my double-cupped, plastic-capped iced coffee, which pretty much defeats the purpose. oh well. it's really hard to be exact about what you want in service situations without coming off as a jerk.

Friday, May 18, 2007

i love bloomingfoods...

...but maybe i would love them more if they had an updated produce page on their website like new seasons. new seasons is a lovely kind of grocery store, and i reccomend it to anyone popping through the portland area. you can get organic deli macaroni and cheese and speghetti-o's, it's local, and they have lots and lots of fresh samples. for example. on our visit, they had garlic romano bread with butter, french bread, two types of guacamole with chips (soooo good), and whole apricots. and something else like apricots? but not pluots? on saturdays, forget about it with the samples. they do themed tastings. good stuff. my other old neighborhood favorite is uncle paul's, an open-air produce market. they had a heck of a time getting the permits to do it, but perservered, and i miss it dearly. this visit, they had big bags of local frozen fruit. didn't have much time to poke around, but uncle paul himself is a good resource if you're in there with questions. brought home some oregon blue cheese from the rogue creamery, too. if only we had some nice cheese makers or cheese shops in southern indiana...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

i'm back!

we had a lovely trip to portland, albeit with not much internet access. probably for the best. now we're home safely, and ready to get back in the kitchen!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

the horror!

as i was just sitting here, clicking and tapping away, it occurred to me. earlier, while working in the garden, i whipped a plastic bag out and used it to kneel on while weeding. but now i can't remember picking it up and putting it away. did i unleash a plastic bag upon the organic community garden? i MUST have put it away. it wouldn't be the first plastic bag to float around the garden, but still. today i fished a well-rototilled pen out of an unplanted bed. my confessions and celebrations for the day: good: bringing a homemade muffin for a morning snack good: walking to work and lunch. good: bringing a cloth napkin to lunch. a little paper napkin never hold up to a falafel, anyway. good: forgoing the free bag of fritos that comes with the falafel baaaad: buying a plastic-wrapped cookie a couple of hours later. bad on another level: eating the whole stupidly big thing. okay, but not great: rockits pizza for dinner. cardboard boxes are recyclable, sure, but that's a lot of material for two slices of pizza. my next step is to move to cloth napkins at home. right now, i usually use a kitchen towel or just flip my apron up, but there aren't always kitchen towels to go around. reduce! i just got a book on composting from the library today, too, but i'm extremely hung up on attracting pests. as in rodents. the very thought of it makes me a little sick. this means we'd need something a self-contained fancy-type compost bin (as in expensive. as in not in the budget.). well, i'll just read up, and we'll see.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

mushroom man

tonight we tried the mushroom patties from the mushroom man for the first time. tasty! i could have used a little more mushroom and a little less filler, but, really, if i'm going to be so picky maybe i should just make my own stupid mushroom patties, right? they tasted good, and the marketing is right up my alley: Localfolks Foods Good food, made for local folks, by local folks MUSHROOM PATTY Every effort has been made to use natural, fresh, local ingredients. they're a fantastic local alternative to a gardenburger, and they come in a reusable zippy bag. i'd like to thank the exploring not-so-big living blog for the shout-out. hi not-so-big living friends! i added a link over at the side over there. see? yes, there. i weaved my way over there from the popular no impact man, who also now lives at the side of my blog, and is really completely fascinating. go over there and check it out.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

may market bounty

more garden shot from the tool shack at the community garden each week, i'm able to get more and more at the market. but why do i always buy like i'm still a single person with no time to cook? it's better to use it all up in 2 days than to let things go to waste, i suppose. and i have let plenty of produce go to waste in its time. but this is almost half gone: 1 bag mixed salad greens 1 bag spinach 1 bunch asparagus 2 mushroom patties 1 dozen eggs 1 bunch kale 3 tomatoes 1 cheddar-rosemary scone 9 oz. raw gouda hey, the tomatoes were $3.29 a pound, and they were greenhouse tomatoes, and not organic. a girl has to be careful. market brunch this was our lunch directly after the market. yum. i put too much nutmeg in the eggs, which is a common problem now that we have whole nutmeg. grating it makes me feel very culinary and proud. that just feels too good to stop after half a teaspoon. perennial strawberries sometime this week i'm going to have to buy some bird netting so i can get away with some strawberries. these are perennials, and i had no hand in putting them in, but they're the most healthy and hale plants in the plot. yesterday, i scared about half a dozen birds out of the garden with my arrival, so i imagine netting is necessary. mmm, berries. portland summers are wonderful for many reasons, and berries are a big one. the cold snap we had in the less-temperate parts of the country in march killed lots of berries and stone fruit, so i'll have to eat my fill on vacation. i can't wait.

Friday, May 4, 2007

"tings are cool mon."

okay. this is me: tonight, i ate a piece of flatbread rubbed with garlic and butter around 5:30. now i'm having a strawberry/blueberry smoothie with flaxseed meal. at 11. this is actually good for me when i'm alone (and no grocery shopping has been done for 3-4 days). when brian gets home, i hope he'll want to join me for beer and popcorn. actually, if he doesn't want popcorn, that's just for for me! ha HA! popcorn is my new snack sensation. faithful readers of my other blog know that i have a deep-seated love for tings. that love has not died. my acceptance of foil bags has. lovely popcorn - you can make as much or as little as you want, it comes in bulk, it's easy to adjust the fat and salt content, and it's good with nutritional yeast. a few months ago, i was on those 100-calorie microwave bags. bad news. here's a choice quote from wikipedia: In 2006, concerns were raised about the levels of perfluorooctanoic acid in popcorn bags. The high temperatures used in popping popcorn may facilitate the transfer of the chemical, which is carcinogenic in animals, into the popcorn oil. DuPont has agreed to eliminate almost all use of the chemical by 2015. um, if i were you, i wouldn't wait. just make it in a regular paper bag (thanks, mari!), or on the stovetop. lately, i've been partial to the stovetop method. no burnt kernels if you shake it. shake it.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

What would Al Gore do?

click post title for link. what's one big thing we can do to reduce greenhouse emissions? buy local. this summer, that's what I'll concentrate on. okay, we'll still have our locally-roasted coffee which has to be shipped long distances, but NO South American fruit. none from California, either, if we can help it (unless we're in Oregon). i'll try to stick with southern indiana first, then, if that fails, the great lakes states for food sources. any bloomingtonians know where i can buy local cream? maybe amish? i want to start making my own ice cream and butter. you might have noticed, on the little blurb to the right there, that i'm trying to feed my family sustainably, sure, but also "on a budget." that doesn't just mean that i'm doing my best not to buy asparagus out of season - we have a real, live, kicking budget with a set line item of $70/week for groceries. that's all our food, non-alcoholic drink, and household goods. every week, i alternate taking $80 or $60 out of the bank, and that's it for the week. guess how much i have left until friday? $0. oh crap. this is the way of the budget. last week was an $80 week, but with houseguests, it went fast. all right, confession: $20 of the non-alchoholic budget went to booze. we have to be gracious hosts, after all. so, after two weeks of buying on $60, things are tight. we're set for breakfasts. husband will only be here for one more dinner this week because he's working (and eating on a different line item while on the road). my dinners will be long on the cheap starches this week - such is the way of the budget. $70 a week is hard, so in may, i added a little on top to spend at the bloomingfoods truck sale. a girl's got to stock up when she can! the budget can be a cruel mistress, but we still love her. she seems restrictive, but really, grants us more freedom. we don't spend as much, and when we do spend, it's with a clear conscience.