Monday, July 26, 2010

Food Frozen In Time: I Love My CSA

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Chew Slowly and Savor Your Food Rule

Food vanishes from this house quickly. My oldest and quickly growing daughter can eat as much as I do and I have a big appetite for a small woman. People are amazed at how much food I can eat. At the grocery store I avoid buying the snacks, the cereal bars, the candies to save money, for the environment and to live healthier. Instead, I load up on vegetables and fruits (local and organic if affordable). I buy some meat (mostly whole natural chickens) to make up for the days we run out of CSA meat. I buy cold organic cereals for the morning, eggs, potatoes, rice and organic milk. These are the basics. Sometimes I'll buy stuff to make homemade snacks and I always buy crackers to eat with tuna.

When I look at the grocery cart I am amazed at how full it is? When I pay for the groceries I swear under by breath and sometimes out loud that the food better last a month, but when I look at the fridge two weeks later I am shocked that it didn't.

Where does it all go? I stretch the food. I ration it out. I no longer cook enough to make leftover unless I know %100 percent we will eat them for lunch tomorrow. I don't let the fruits and vegetables rot. I.... I don't understand. Not long ago I heard this story on the news about a women who fed her whole family for a month on something like $100. She fed them things like noodles with veggies inside. She'd make soups and save the chicken bones for flavoring etc. etc. She's also a coupon clipper.

Now I do most of that, except save the bones. I give those to my dog. I also don't coupon clip though I have been meaning too. I have a box of coupons waiting to be clipped and used. In the past though, looking through those coupons I found little of use. There are no coupons for fresh fruits and vegetables. There are very little coupons for organic foods and frozen vegetables and fruits. I use what I can find, but these coupons are usually for the expensive organic brands. I buy store brand organic because its less expensive even if I use the coupon with the organic name brand. I guess I could double up coupons, but some coupons state on the coupon not to double up and some stores don't allow double up. I will have to do more research in this area. If anyone out there has some experience feel free to send me a message.

In the mean time I'm going to have to find a new way to make fresh food stretch farther than it usually does in this household. I am going to have to keep reinforcing the "eat slowly and savor your food" rule (which no one likes) a lot more. I'm also going to have to keep trying to succeed with the garden. I've saved a lot on money on herbs, mint tea and cucumbers. If only I could get other things to successfully grow.

Speaking of success. My basil looks amazing. It is thriving! My camera battery died before I could download the pictures I took of it. I will have to post a picture later.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Experimenting With Mint

My daughter has come down with another cough which will probably mean another ear infection. I'm tired of taking her to the doctor only so the doctor can prescribe her medicine that will temporarily heal her if it heals her at all. What's in the medicine anyways?

Why wont doctors try anything natural? It's all pills, drops, and other medicines that smell bead and taste bad and sometimes work and sometimes don't or only work for a very short period of time. Are the pharm. companies paying the doctors? Can I trust a doctor to look out for my daughter's best interest or for the best interest of his/her pocket book.

I don't know. I'm not a doctor. I'm just a parent tired of my kid getting sick with the same stuff over and over again, be it allergies or some bug she catches from another kid. So, today I went on a hunt for natural remedies to help alleviate coughs and ear infections. I came across so many things. Some that sounded dangerous and some that sounded harmless. Why not try the harmless ones? For example, garlic is suppose to be a great natural healer for ear infections. So is onion and a lot of natural products I already have in my home. There are also a lot of good things to help alleviate a cough.

So, today I'm experimented safely and I made spearmint tea. Earlier today I had her drink some ginger. She isn't fond of the ginger, its too spicy for her, but she loves the spearmint tea. I have plenty in my garden.

Here's the recipe

fresh spearmint leaves
cinnamon stick
agave or honey
a pot of water
a tea or coffee cup

1. Boil the spearmint leaves and the cinnamon stick in the pot of water. Boil it until the water changes to a darker color (about 5 minutes).

2. Pour agave into the coffee cup. When the tea is done pour the hot tea into the coffee cup.

3. Let it cool for a few minutes.

4. Drink.

I will come back to let you know how the tea helps her cough, but even if it doesn't heal her cough she likes the tea and to me that is important too.

No worries tomorrow I will be taking her to the doctor too. Should I confront the doctor about natural remedies?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

"Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly Plants"

Today's posting will be short. Please cheer quietly as it is late at night. I am aware I haven't posted in awhile. Some times there just isn't much to say because some times there isn't much to recollect.

This month I have done little with the garden (actually most months are like this) but I have been thinking a lot about food. I have Squidoo, RocketMoms, the Foodlover's group, a fitness challenge at work, a food diet blog tour and my sister's wedding to thank for that. My goal is to eat healthier. My husband say we already eat healthy enough especially compared to the rest of America.

I'm not eating healthy in comparison to others. I'm doing it for me and to lead by example for my kids. If only it was that easy. The CSA baskets and the CSA meats are great but they don't last long and when they're gone or out of season I still have to go shopping at the grocery store, filled with tempting things like Hostess cupcakes. I don't buy them but when I'm home I find myself craving them all day. I hate it. Just writing about them and my mouth is watering.

I tell myself I'm going to start learning how to make my own sweets and desserts but unless it's a special occasion I really don't have time to make them. Speaking of desserts, I picked up a few healthy eating books at the library yesterday (they had a snake exhibition at the community center right next door my hubby and I took our kids to). One of the books I picked up was Food Rules. Its a great one day read with a lot of simple healthy eating ideas I needed reminding of. This is what eating healthy should be about. I never understood the need for calorie counting or any of that nonsense. I wish there were more books like this and a whole lot less of the ones that read something like this, "Loose 10 pounds in 8 days eating cookies!". Seriously?

As for my garden and everything else... the cucumber and squash are still growing despite the heat and the basil in the front yard looks great. I learned last year basil likes this weather. Earlier this week I picked a bucket full of ripe figs from my neighbors backyard (he let me) and today while grocery shopping I bought two spagetti squash. I can't wait to try them with tomorrows dinner. What a tasty week.

I really can't keep it short can I?

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Cucumber Loves These Recent Rains

Almost everyday this week it has rained. I don't mind. It cools down the heat and reduces the humidity and the sound of the rain is soft and drizzly. It is wonderful to listen to, especially in the morning when all the bugs and birds are singing in the rain. I swear I'm hearing ducks, but I don't see them anywhere out my window. Maybe I'm confusing them with the odd croaks of frogs. 

On another note, during the few trips I've ventured outside in the rain to take the kitchen scraps out to the compost bin I have noticed how fast the cucumber plant is growing. It has tripled in size. It looks like we will have another year of cucumber salads and snacks. Luckily,  I love cucumber. I just wish some of the other vegetables I worked hard to plant would grow too. 

The unidentified squash I accidentally grew is also growing and very quickly thanks to the rain. Half of it dried up last month because of the intense heat so I was happy it recovered so well and quickly in the rain. At one time it grew so quickly and heavy one of the thick stems broke and this squash goo oozed out of the stem. I'm not sure if this happened during the heat or the previous scattered rains or this weeks rains, but I'm sure the weather here is really frustrating the plants. It is definitely frustrating me. 

I noticed the broken stem while trying to catch what appeared to be a stinkbug, a beautiful red orange bug with black spots and black legs. That is the second one I've killed recently. The other stinkbug was crawling within the mint.

The mint is growing very well too, but not just because of the rain. It just seems to be a very invasive plant. I don't mind that either. In my miserable looking garden I will take any green I can get. The rain is helping out. For a week or so the heat was burning all my plants to a crisp, including the ones in the front even if I watered them. I almost lost my fig. All the leaves browned and withered and when I thought it was completely lost the rain came to the rescue and leaves grew back strong and green. 

So, for now this miserable gardener is quite cheerful for the abundance of rain (no hurricanes please) and the resilience of my wonderful, often neglected, plants.