Tuesday, February 28, 2012

February Food Budget $295.39 and other ramblings

Hello hippies!!!!!
I was gone in Washington for a few days which is why you have not heard from me in a while.  That's my daughter rocking the soccer field.  I froze my butt off the whole time. I wasn't prepared for the crazy wind so I quickly invested in a pair of thermals.  Didn't wanna spend the $30 at all but once I was back out in the elements I was quickly glad I did. Were talking 30-40 mph wind with 50 mph gust. 

I did need a few things when I came home.  My husband made do with what we had but used up a few things.

WHOLE FOODS

$4.99 Organic Sugar
$1.49 Sunshine Dairy Half n Half
$1.99 Veg Fed Free Range Eggs
$1.43 Organic Asparagus ($1.49 per lb SALE!!!!)
$3.69 Lemonaise (trying something new)

Total minus bag credit-$13.59

NOT PICTURED

My friend Tanya needed me to go in on some sale oranges and honey from Azure Standard.  Long story short the oranges were not all good so they discounted them for us. Here is what I bought.

4-5 lbs of oranges
1 large mason jar of honey

Total-$11

My February budget is larger than last month for a few reasons.  I purchased a lot of meat last week and this week oranges and honey which I didn't need.  These were at such a great price and will save me money in the long run.  Oranges stay fresh in the fridge for a few weeks and I will not need to buy any fruit for a while.  Honey will be put to good use because its cold season.  We drink a ton of hot tea with honey. 


Remember the cheese slicer of mine that broke? Well I went into the store which I bought it and asked about if they can fix it.  They gave me a funny look but said no.  They no longer carried the one I had bought all those years ago but did have a new adjustable one with a wire replacement you can also purchase.  I decided to wait and look around. Boy and I glad I did. I found a similar one for only .99 cents at Goodwill.  Also found a small tong set from the 50's and is way better than my cheap metal (all rusty!) one I already have.  It was also .99 cents.  Woot!!!
What can I say, I am a sucker for natural baskets.  I found this really large beauty also at Goodwill for only $2.99.  I will use this basket to bring in the produce from the garden.  Who knows maybe even for a picnic one of these days.  Seriously in love with this!
Speaking of love, just look at Megan.  The chickens are free ranging in the backyard and she is loving it.  The gals are too big to put on her shoulder and she quickly realized it.  Chickens keep my kids busy which makes me happy.

And speaking of happy. Just look at them! They are getting so big.  I do believe Jenny (the light colored one) is the top of the pecking order.  She doesn't like to be picked up but is great once you do pick her up.   My dog doesn't get her warning calls but she gets a big peck to the face!

Another thing that makes me happy is gardening.  I planted the following today in my greenhouse.

Tomatoes:Italian Roma,Black Krim, Beefsteak, Cherokee Purple, Tomatillo, Yellow Pear, Green Zebra and Brandywine.

Yellow Straightneck

Spinach

Kale

Sweet Mammoth Basil

Sunburst Hybrid Patty Pan

Pak Choi

Chef's Blend Cauliflower

Lemon Cucumber

Brussels Sprouts

Cabbage

Echinacea

Parsley

Jalapeno

Stevia

Chamomile (from last years harvest)

Cilantro

Thursday, February 23, 2012

News







BREAKING NEWS!!! I will be one for 3 days with no laptop. OMG!!!! I am taking my daughter to her soccer tournament in Washington & will not be back till Sunday evening. Looking forward to not cooking & only one kid. Not looking forward to the junky food im sure they will require us to eat (teams eat together) or looking for healthier food for the other meals. Ehhh. Anyways I WILL MISS ALL OF YOU!!!! Peace out!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

February Food Budget $270.80

NEW SEASONS

$2.99 Tillamook Butter RBST Free (local!)
$2.99 Organic 5lb bag of Russet Potatoes
$1.16 Organic Celery
$3.71 Organic Navel Oranges (girls lunches .79 cents a lb sale)

TOTAL minus bag credit=$10.80


WHOLE FOODS

$26.77 Natural Pork Shoulder (no hormones, sale $2.49 per lb)
.42 Organic Ginger (for tea-hubs has a cold)
$2.83 Organic Mushrooms
$3.99 Organic Gallon of Milk
$1.81 Organic Asparagus ($1.99 sale woot!)
$2.69 Organic Coconut Cream (for coffee test)

TOTAL minus bag credit=$38.51

First thing I want to talk about is the meat I bought.  Natural pork shoulder was on a super sale so I bought 3 large pieces.  I ended up cutting all the fat off and stored it in the freezer for my dog.  She loves that stuff.  The rest of the meat was separated into 1/2 pound packs and put into the freezer.

I will not have to buy meat for a while now. Woot!

Someone recommended organic coconut cream for a creamer alternative for my coffee.  The only thing I found was this pack so I will keep an eye out for a glass option each time I shop. 

Next you can see a bottle of White Willow.  This was a ibuprofen alternative that again one of you recommended to me.  At $8.99 its not the most economical buy but I wanted to test it out. If it works well I will look for a glass alternative.  All Whole Foods has was this bottle which is plastic.  Not included in my food budget because its not food. 

Last but not least the yogurt is something my twins have been asking for. They are on a yogurt kick for breakfast.  They love a small bowl of organic yogurt with ground flax seed and a half an organic orange cut up. Very healthy breakfast!

So my February total is more than my January total and I'm okay with that. I bought a bunch of meat so that will save me over the next few weeks.  Plus I've been getting organic fruit for pretty cheap and again saving me money. I'm in a great place with my food budget. 

Also want to note that all plastic and paper you see here will be recycled and can be recycled because its the reason I buy food in these packages.  It all depends on whats in my budget and if I can find a good sale.

Just say NO to BPA!



What is BPA?
BPA is derived from petroleum.  Basically they take benzene (which is a building block that corporations produce) and sell it to chemical companies.
The chemical companies run benzene through a man made chemical reaction which turns it into a chemical called bisphenol A.  BPA is a building block for polycarbonate plastic. Its a clear plastic which is used for water bottles, line aluminum soda cans and steel cans that contain food. 
BPA was approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for use as food contact material in 1963. But the scary fact is that its been used in other products since 1910. 

Why is BPA so toxic?
Research has been done on BPA since the late 1990's.  They believe BPA contributes to cancer, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and immune dysfunctions including some asthma and allergies.  It also causes early puberty and damage to every part of the reproductive system including uterine fibroids and ovarian and breast cancer. They also say in male animals, BPA causes low sperm counts, prostate cancer and abnormalities of the urethra as they age. BPA also memics estradiol.  It damages the programming of how your body's going to function for the rest of your life.  The really scary fact is that babies have 12.5 times more exposure to BPA than adults do. 

January 2010
Food and Drug Administration reversed its position that BPA is safe.  The FDA said that because BPA is a grandfather chemical, they don't have the authority to ban or regulate it.  They don't even have the authority to ask "What products contain BPA?".

How can I avoid BPA? 

 Avoid canned food at all cost. You can find food in bulk sections and cook them yourself. 

 You can buy fresh food with no packaging. Better yet buy organic.

  Try to buy products in glass which is the safest option. There is no BPA in glass so there is no scare of leaching. Now day's you can find glass water bottles, more prepackaged foods in glass and just more glass options period.  Keep an eye out for them!

 Avoid plastic when ever possible unless its labeled BPA free.  They say that cloudy plastic is fine but avoid it to be on the safe side.

Some metal water bottles have a clear plastic lining containing BPA. So buy water bottles with no liner and 100% steel. 

Even paper receipts contain BPA so avoid touching any receipt by letting the cashiers put the receipt in your bag then remove it later with gloves or something metal.  I can see this as a hassle for you but it is a important step.

Avoid canned drinks at all cost because the metal cans are lined with BPA plastic.  This will be a hard one to do for many people.  But worth it! Start trying new soda's in glass and you won't miss the metal cans one bit.

Avoid food in the freezer section.  Most of those packaged foods are lined with BPA laced plastic. 

In fact avoid any prepackaged foods what so ever if you can.  There is no guarantee that the plastic packaging is BPA free.  In fact most packages do not mention BPA one bit. If it doesn't say BPA free then assume its filled with it. 

Never fully trust any product.  Do your research!



Last but not least for those coffee drinkers, stop using coffee makers with any plastic on their coffee makers.  A french press and percolators are best.  Some you heat on a stove and some need to be plugged in.  Make sure there is no plastic parts that come into contact with your hot coffee! Most don't require a paper filter so you save money and trees in the long run. 

I recommend watching this 10 minute video.  Its packed with information including a time line of how BPA came into concern.


There is hope.  You don't have to let BPA leach into your life.  You can live a healthy life style and keep on budget all while avoiding BPA.  How you ask? Well your reading my blog so that's a great start! I try my best to keep BPA out of my life and share with all of you how I do it.  Don't be afraid to ask questions, do your research and join me in the fight against BPA. 

To find out more amazing ways to avoid plastic head on over here .  Beth Terry is my inspiration when it comes to avoiding plastic.  I have learned so much from her. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

DIY Bread pudding

This is what I had for breakfast today. Its not pretty but wow does it taste amazing! Plus a great way to use up things in your fridge.  Personally I prefer this over cinnamon rolls. It's that good!

Bread Pudding

2 loaves of bread
You can use up any bread you have. Rolls, buns, etc. Just make sure it's bread with no major flavors such as garlic and what not.  I used bread that I failed in.  I tried to make bread using my bread machine to do the work for me then cook it in the oven.  FAILED!

4 cups of milk
I used coconut milk because it was expiring soon. You could use milk, half n half, or even buttermilk. 

3/4 cup of sugar or less
I used brown sugar because its cheapest option for me. You can use any sugar or sugar substitute you want. You can add as little or as much as you want.  We prefer it slightly sweet.

4 eggs
Or maybe you have a egg substitute? I used organic brown eggs.

1 tsp of cinnamon

1 tbsp of vanilla
You can add any type of flavoring you want. I used my homemade vanilla but anything can be throw in. Banana, cinnamon, or even almond flavoring would be yummy.

Optional: Cinnamon chips, chocolate chips and nuts.

Instructions: Chunk up your bread and toss into a baking dish. Add in your chips if you want any in there.  I used cinnamon chips.   I had so much bread that I had to use 2 containers.  All other ingredients need to be mixed in a separate container and drizzled over the bread.  Let sit for about a minute. 

With your clean hands press down on the bread. Try to make the surface flat. This will make it easier to cut after cooked.  You could leave it as is and have a rustic look to it.  I prefer a bread look so I squish mine down. 

Toss in a 350 degree oven and cook till light brown and crispy on the surface.  Mine took about 30 minutes. 

Yields enough for a large group.  The kids and I have been eating it for a few days now. Yummy!

This brings back memories for me.  It was a favorite of ours as kids and I'm sure my mom loved it too.  This is a really cheap treat and really can stretch your money.  Just remember to use what you have!

P.S.
I'm REALLY into fresh flowers right now. I have been buying flowers lately but will soon not have to.  Here in Portland tulips and dafodils are sprouting up everywhere.  I have so many flowers planted and cannot wait till they start blooming. I use old blue glass mason jars to put my flowers in.   LOVE!!!!


Monday, February 20, 2012

Frugal Mock Chinese Take Out


Tonight's dinner was requested by my daughter. This recipe makes enough for 4-6 people easily.   It's super yummy and pretty darn cheap too! Please remember you can substitute any meat or veggies you want.  Its all about what you have, get on sale or whats in season.  Or in my case I needed to use them up before they went bad.

3 cups of rice .50 cents
4 cups of water
3 Organic Carrots 25 cents
3 Organic Celery Stalks (looking a little limpy) .30 cents
1/3 Cup Organic Onion .25 cents
1 Organic Bok Choy Free Thanks Theresa!
1/2 lb Natural Ground Pork $1.99
4-5 Organic Mushrooms  $1
Liquid Amino's or your favorite soy sauce.

Optional: Sesame oil, sesame seeds and peanuts.

TOTAL: $4.29 Or less

Toss your rice and water into a rice cooker and cook away. Or cook it old school. 

If your using peanuts, let them toast on medium/low heat in olive oil.

Chop up all your veggies and set aside. 

Get your meat cooking on medium heat.  Once your meat is almost done add in your onion and a sprinkle of olive oil.  Then toss in your carrots and cook for about 3 minutes.  Then toss in your celery and cook another 3 minutes.  Then toss in your bok choy.  Basically you cook your hardest vegetables first then your soft veggies.  Once done you can sprinkle in your sesame seeds if your using them. 

Rice should be done by now so turn it off.

To plate up put your rice on the bowl/plate first. Then put your veggie mix on the rice and then peanuts on your veggie mix.  Add as much liquid amino's or soy sauce to your liking.

Done!






Saturday, February 18, 2012

February Food Budget $221.49


TRADER JOE'S

$3.98 Puffy Cheddar Puffs (girls lunch snacks)
$2.58 Organic Spaghetti Pasta (2 bags)
$3.87 Organic Fusilli Pasta (3 bags)
$3.98 Can Clams Maine (2 cans, trying something new)
$2.49 Sliced Almonds (daughters request)
$5.99 Olive Oil
$3.69 Organic Free Range Eggs (cheapest around my home!)
$1.99 Horseradish (glass jar! Trying something new)

Total=$28.57

The organic pasta is prepackaged so no need to send me a email.  Bulk organic pasta is $3.99 and up where I live. Not a budget friendly item.  Since we eat a ton of pasta, this is my only option.  Once its just the hub's and I then I will buy bulk.  All plastic is recycled of course.  Just bugs the crap out of me.  I swear the plastic laughs at me. Damn plastic!

I have something to fess up.  I buy Schwan's sometimes.  To be fair its not very often.  Years ago we would buy their corn because it was the sweetest corn I could find. I'm talking sweet! Then once in a while we would buy ice cream cones from them when it was nice.  Ive successfully avoided the Schwan guy for about 2 months but he caught me tonight. Really I should just tell him that we are no longer buying their items.
Tonight I decided to try their pizza's out.  Usually my husband order's Pizza Hut (I know I know!!! ).  But since there is 6 of us we have to order 3 pizza's and that's $30. Delivery not included!  Schwan's pizza's are only $7 or so each.  Plus they had a sale for $2 off when you buy 3. So I spent $23 on 3 pizza's.  I know for sure these are healthier than the Pizza Hut ones.  These will go into the freezer until my husband gets a pizza craving.  It's a win win if you ask me.  Way healthier and cheaper. 

I didn't include this in my food bill because its a extra special thing we do about once a month.  If my husband wants pizza then he has to pay for it. Nuff said. Ha ha.

So fess up, what do you do that you feel guilty about? I know there is something!!! Share with the class!

Gardening

Friday, February 17, 2012

One potato two potato three potato ....

My daughter wanted mashed potatoes but I didn't have enough of one type of potato to make mashed potatoes. So I decided to cook all three types together.  So here we have sweet, golden and russet mashed potatoes with beef country gravy.  Honestly they tasted so good.  Had a slight sweet taste to them.
Organic green beans were from my garden and the corn I cannot remember where I bought them. I needed to use them up so in they went. 

FREE Potatoes from my friend Theresa. THANKS!
$1.65 Natural Beef (I crumbled in food processor)
??? corn
FREE Organic Green Beans (from my garden)

Total=$1.65 give or take.
This is one of those dinners where I was using what I had.  I would rather get creative with the food than have it go bad and have to put it in the compost. I didn't figure in the milk, butter and such for the gravy. I was too tired to try to figure out how much one cup of milk was. We always have them in our fridge and it wouldn't add too much to the total anyways. 
Nah I'm just too lazy to do the calculations.  Forgive me. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Creamed polenta with white bean, bacon and kale.

I found this recipe online and had to try it out.  The recipe calls for spinach but I substituted with kale.  I had kale growing in my front yard!  Also I added bacon to add some flavor to the dish. So glad I did! Also recipe called for 2 cups of beans but I added 3. I'm feeding a family of 6 so I needed more.  Enjoy!

What you will need
4 cups of water
1 cup of polenta
2 cups of kale
1/2 a medium onion chopped
1 cup nitrate free bacon
3 cups white beans your choice (mine were cooking which is why they are not pictured)
optional:Sour cream

1/2 tsp Anise Seeds
1/4 tsp Thyme
1/4 tsp Rosemary
1/4 tsp Oregano
1/4 tsp Basil
Optional:Cheese or nutritional yeast. You can get a free sample  here which is what I used.

Polenta
Bring your water to a simmer in a large pot.  Whisk in salt and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes.  You can add water if you want it a bit thinner.  I like mine polenta a little thick.

Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the butter, nutritional yeast or cheese, coconut or heavy cream, and taste. Add more salt if needed. Transfer to a bowl and keep warm until ready to serve.


Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the butter, nutritional yeast or cheese, coconut or heavy cream, and taste. Add more salt if needed. Transfer to a bowl and keep warm until ready to serve.




Remove the pot from the heat .  Add your butter and optional items here.  Set aside.


Beans Mixture


Chop up some nitrate free bacon and cook till done.  Remove bacon pieces and set aside till dish is done.  Use your bacon grease to cook your onion till done. If your not using bacon this is where you will add some olive oil to cook your onion.   Toss in your herbs, then your beans and the very last thing you want to add is your kale.  Cook for a few minutes till kale is tender.  Done!


Here is my cost run down


$1.00 organic beans (bought in bulk I cooked)
$1.00 organic lettuce
$1.04 organic polenta (bulk)
.50 nitrate free bacon ($2.99 per lb used very little)
.32 organic onion (used 1/2 lb about)
FREE organic kale from my front yard garden
TOTAL COST=$3.86
That's .64 cents a person!


I didn't add in the cost of my spices because frankly I couldn't remember the prices and I used very little of them. 

February Food Budget $192.92

My friend Theresa gave me all of this stuff.  Lettuce, bok choy, tangerine, apples, potatoes and sweet potatoes.  All organic! Thank you Theresa!!! Hope you enjoy your little surprise I left you!!

NEW SEASON'S

$4.99 Puget Sound Jam (ran out of my homemade kind & this is a local company. Cool container to reuse too!)Not organic but local
$2.89 Brown Sugar (bulk .99 per lb)
$2.49 Organic Corn Polenta (bulk $2.19 per lb)
$2.20 Organic Amaranth ($2.29 per lb bulk)
$2.15 Laundry Soap (bulk)
$3.19 Chili Powder (bulk $10.99 per lb)
$2.16 Holiday Dark Chocolates (bulk 5.99 per lb)
$1.99 Organic Onion 3lb bag (that's .66 cents per lb)
$1.24 Organic Brussels sprouts (sale $1.79 per lb)
.78 Organic Garlic ($5.99 per lb)

Total minus bag credit-$23.93

I'm trying out the amaranth to see if we like it.  Dark chocolate candies are mine.  I love me some dark chocolate!

I found these little pretties in the clearance section at New Season's.  Last week they were 30% off so I'm glad I held out till now.  They were $19.99 and at 50% off I paid only $9.99 for them. Woot woot! Handmade by third world artisans, Andes Gifts products are fair trade.  I am a happy camper!

WHOLE FOODS

$1.69 Crunchy Pretzels (1 lb bag. Girls snacks in their lunches)
$1.99 Hemp Chocolate Milk
$1.99 Organic Vanilla Oat Milk
$1.99 Organic Almond Milk
$2.71 Organic Lima Beans
$1.49 Sunshine Dairy Half n Half (local!)
$3.99 Vanilla Coconut Milk
$3.39 Rose Valley Butter (sale! Plus a local company)
$1.67 Sunshine Dairy 3 small yogurts (.89 cents each coupon $1 off of 3)
$2.79 Organic Vanilla Yogurt 
$4.99 White Rice 5lbs
$1.47 Mushrooms (bulk)
$1.00 Sunshine Dairy Sour Cream ($1.50 sale .50 cents off coupon)
$3.49 Can't say Sour Cream
$5.79 Natural Beef Chuck ($4.79 per lb sale)

Total-$40.44

Grand total-$64.37

Beef Chuck -Whole Foods was having a sale on this beef.  In the prepackaged area it was sliced up and ready to go in a meal. They were packaged in Styrofoam (I'm sure is biodegradable) and covered with a plastic film. NOPE!  When I went to look to see if they had cut up beef in the deli area, I had no luck.  They only had large pieces.  So I asked the deli worker if he could slice one of the large pieces in half and wrap it in paper. I should of watched because I found a small piece of plastic (they use to pick up the meat) which I was trying to avoid in the first place. Urrr. Anyways here is what I did with this meat.
I took the meat and cut off all the fat. I know it gives it more flavor (I can hear you yelling at me already lol) but I just can't eat it. Puke! I give those tid bits to my dog and she enjoys it 100%. 


Next I cut up the meat across the grain of the meat.  This way its easier to chew later on when I use it.  I split the pound and a half of meat into thirds.  We don't eat much meat and it makes my money go further.  It's not about how much you have if you ask me. Its quality! Frankly I'm getting sick of ground beef and pork so this is a good change.  I wrapped these up in natural wax paper (biodegradable of course!) and put them in the freezer.  Each pack cost me $1.93 per meal. Not bad!

Also I decided to go dairy free to see if it helps my allergies.  You all recommended this to me so today will be my first dairy free day.  Wish you could see my sad face right now. I'm really sad. I love my dairy. Mostly sour cream. Sniff Sniff.

I found a dairy sour cream substitute called WayFare Sour Cream 100% Dairy free.  Its made from lima beans, oats, rice, oat bran, coconut oil, safflower oil, tapioca and sea salt.  All non GMO and vegan.  I'll let you know later how it taste.  At $3.49 it better taste damn good!

Love

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Organic Chili

Tonight was very busy for me so I had to make something quick and easy.  One daughter to the dentist and the other to basketball practice.  Of course right around the same time.  Life wouldn't want to hand me a easy day would it? Nope. So tonight I went low key and decided on chili.

Organic Chili

1/2 lb Natural Ground Beef $1.75 (only $3.49 per lb)
5 Mason Jars of Organic Pinto Beans $1.99 (about 5 cups beans)
1/2 cup  Organic Bell Peppers .50 cents (bought on sale & froze)
4 tbsp Chili Powder
1tbsp Cumin
1 Garlic Clove grated
Salt to taste

Total=$4.24
That's 70 cents per person!

I didn't factor in the spices because frankly I couldn't remember how much I paid for them. They are something that we always have on hand.

I added one teaspoon of sour cream, tobasco sauce and some sauerkraut. Tasted like a chili dog! Yummy!

Right now, I am....

Comfy because I'm wearing sweats and a T shirt which I love.  My laptop is keeping my lap warm as well.

Working on a really cool project.  I'm starting to train for my race and I'm on the hunt for a good (hopefully local) Eco friendly running shoe. Lots of emails out and just waiting for a response.

Wishing it was warm enough to start gardening. I miss my hands being dirty.

Having fun reading lots of nerdy environmental science books. I need a book shelf very soon.

Learning all about chickens with first hand experience.  Its been a fun process.

Happy in every aspect of my life.  I have the perfect family, perfect home and perfect life.

Hoping to learn how to make my own bread soon. Been saying this too long so I need to start actually doing it.

Remembering things about my dad ever so often.  I miss his voice.  I miss his presence.  I miss him being there for my mom.  I just miss him so much it hurts.

Thankful for everything my grandmother and mom have taught me.  Thankful mom dragged me out to grandma's to work in her garden.  Thankful for grandma who always had green onions on the table in a glass of water.  Thankful I was old enough to remember watching them can everything imaginable.  Thankful for it all.  Thank you!

Looking forward to this planting season.  My girls want their own space in the garden.  My chickens will be big enough to roam freely in our yard.  Looking forward to all the beautiful pictures I will be taking.  Just looking forward to everything involved in the process.

Planning on writing much much more.  It keeps me grounded and is very therapeutic for me.  I strive each day to learn something new and share it with all of you.

Also planning on spending more time outdoors.  Running, hiking, going for walks, camping and much more.  Should be a fun year.

Needing to work on my confidence.  Ive always felt like the ugly ducking. Starting to realize its because I look like my dna father who I do not have any respect for one bit.  I need to get past this.  My husband has been wonderful to me and makes me feel like a sexy green mama. Thank you honey.

Wanting to get out more and spot light local businesses.  I would love to devote one day a week to travel to and experience a local place.  Just sounds like a lot of fun.

Trying to be a better mom and wife.  I have no patience and like quick results but that doesn't work when you have kids.  I need to just step back, take a deep breath and enjoy all the moments with my kids.  They are getting older and I don't wanna miss anything.

Thrilled that I have such an amazing fan base.  Your comments have really inspired me to do more.  I love reading how Ive inspired you.  That is what I wanted all along.  Thank you for that!

Anxious to get out in the garden and start planting.  Just need to clean up the garden and green house.  Then I can plant all I want!

Grateful for everything I have. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Split pea soup with salad

My daughter and husband are not feeling well so I decided to make something simple. Here is what I came up with.

Pea Soup

3 Cups Organic Red Pea's $1.99 (bought on sale in bulk)
4 Organic Carrots Chopped .20 cents (.75 cents per lb)
2 Organic Celery Stalks Chopped .50 cents ($1.29 per lb)
1/2 Small Organic Onion .50 cents (.99 cents per lb)
4 1/2 cups water

Saute all veggies till half way cooked. Add in peas and water and bring up to a boil.  Turn down on low, cover and simmer for around 20-30 minutes.

Feeds a family of 6 easily

Total Cost=$3.19

Salad was basically free. My friend Theresa gave me a head of organic lettuce and I made some ranch with some powder I had in the house. 

This is a low cost and healthy option for a meal.  Brings back memories of my mom making pea soup for us when we were little.  Only this time its pretty and doesn't look like puke. Sorry green pea's but its true.  Wait...still sorta looks like puke. Oh well.  Enjoy!

Whole Foods Valentines Day

Here is what I picked up for my 4 daughters for Valentines Day. I proved you don't have to go broke to have a good holiday.

$3.33 5 pack of fresh tulips
$1.62 12 organic lollipops (bulk)
$3.96 4 dark chocolate bars
FREE cards made by me
FREE mason jars (already owned)
FREE red yarn (already owned)
------------------------------------
Total=$1.78 each child
Not too shabby!!! )

Sunday, February 12, 2012

February Food Budget $128.55 and some chicken love

WHOLE FOODS

$2.00 Organic Blue Chips (sale $3 used $1 off coupon)
$2.73 Seedless Grapes ($1.99 per lb)
$1.51 Natural Chicken Legs ($1.29 per lb use for chicken soup)
$1.00 Sunshine Dairy Sour Cream ($1.50 used .50 cents off coupon)
$1.99 Chipotle Salsa
$1.50 Sunshine Dairy Half n Half
$2.79 Organic Vanilla Yogurt (on sale treat for the girls)
$3.99 Gallon Organic Milk (everyday low price now woot!)
$2.36 Organic Heirloom Tomatoes (YUMMY!!! Treat)
$1.99 Veg Fed Large Eggs

Total=$21.86

NEW SEASONS

$1.99 Aluminum Foil (been a yr since I bought some)
$5.09 Organic Oranges (sale .99 cents per lb)
$1.88 Organic Celery ($1.49 per lb)
.84 Organic Asparagus (sale $1.99 per lb & I think I will go back to buy more. Excellent price)
$7.74 All natural ground pork 2lbs

TOTAL minus bag credit =17.44

GRAND TOTAL=$39.30
Making my February total $128.55


Love that my girls play outside for hours.  Even my 13 year old still plays with her sisters outside.  Even though she would never admit it to anyone.  She pulled the girls around in their wagon's and dug a river in the mud and made a bridge for them.  Sister love!

My husband added a few more things to the coop.  Shingles on the roof, new hinges because he didn't like the other ones he used, and he added hinges to the brooder so I can get eggs when they start laying. 
Girls have a new ramp to the coop. It's so beautiful.  He made it and I soaked it with linseed oil to weather proof it a bit.  Girls are getting in their coop much better now.
I invested in a larger metal feed feeder which cost me $21.00.  Could of purchased a lid for it as well but I had a large terra cotta saucer that worked just find.  Next payday I will invest in a large metal water feeder.  This plastic one bugs the heck out of me.  I don't use plastic and my chickens won't either. But this one works for now. Girls eye balled it for a long time but are now using it just fine. 
Speaking of girls, look at them.  They are getting so big.  Lulu (black) is still the sweetest of all 4 of them.  Lucy is nice but doesn't like to be held for long. Lulu on the other hand is comfortable snuggling with me all day long. Lulu we call the worm guzzler now. For being the smallest chicken she sure eats her weight in worms compared to the others. 
We used a branch to make the girls perch.  They have been sleeping in the brooder and I don't want them to make a habit of that.  So for now I put a metal thing in the brooder so they have to use the perch at night. We will see how tonight goes. I cleaned out the coop so its nice and tidy in there. 

Now its time for the garden to get cleaned up.  Need to get all the stuff out of the greenhouse so I can make way for starts which I will start doing this week.  Once I clean the garden I can have my girls decorate the garden with our garden animals, gnome's and other things. 
For now we will just be hanging out in the house for the rest of the day.  A nice fire was the right treat. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Gnocchi Dinner

Dinner was sorta a last minute thought.  I was so busy getting the house clean and my daughter off to soccer that I totally forgot we eat food.   Here is what I put together.

.99 Gnocchi (Grocery Outlet)
$1.00 Organic tomato paste (Whole Foods)used rest of a jar from another meal
$1.00- Corn
$1.75 Natural Ground Beef ($3.49 per lb) only used 1/2 a pound.
FREE-Fresh Organic Parsley (thanks Theresa!)

TOTAL=$4.74
Fed 5 people tonight.
Thats only .94 cents per person. Woot!

Not factoring in the bread because we only used a few slices.  Plus im lazy which doesn't help.   Not bad for a dinner on the go. 

Note:My lovely model for the picture is Megan. Only the most adorable little girl ever.  So adorable that she has a twin sister. I get double the cuteness.

Frugal Fashions

Today is cleaning day so I wore something comfortable.  Since its just me home I have to take my own picture. Try is the word of the day.
Seems like my daughter takes after her mommy.  Emma wanted me to take her picture and this is the pose she decided to go with.


Okay lets try a different way of taking the picture. No, I'm not feeling this pose.
 How about this one mommy? Well you do have a cute tush but no this one isn't working for me sweetie.


Okay this one seems to be the best.  I started giggling at myself because it just seems just comical that it takes me this long to take a picture of myself. 
Oh Emma. Look at your inner diva.  Whats with the crazy wild child look? Oh you get that from me....oops.

Hollister Tank-10 cents Goodwill Outlet
Aeropostale Capr's-FREE My awesome sister gave them to me!

Not bad for a ten cent outfit. Woot!

Now back to cleaning....

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Left overs = yummy!


Tonight I used up some left overs and came up with tortilla soup. So darn yummy! I simply heated up the chicken broth I made last night and tossed in our Mexican rice from the other night.  I like lots of pinto beans so I also tossed in a mason jar of them.  Then crushed a few tortilla chips in the soup because it also adds a great tortilla flavor to the broth.  We love sour cream so I added a teaspoon of Sunshine Dairy sour cream. Mmmmmm!

Total cost was 50 cents because I already factored the food cost and the only new cost was a mason jar of beans.  Woot!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chicken Soup with a shot of echinacea

Mom thank you for making me eat soup when I was younger.  I love soup so much and make it any chance I can get.  And now I make my kids eat my soup. Fun times!

Chicken soup can be made any way you want.  Tonight I needed to use up some vegetables so I tossed them in.  This soup is good whether you add a ton or just a few or organic or not.  fun with it. Here is what I added to mine.

-Organic carrots about 25 cents
-Organic kale .75 cents
-Organic mushrooms .70 cents
-Organic onions 25 cents
-Organic Bok Choy & Parsley FREE(thanks Theresa!)
-4 All natural (no hormones etc) chicken legs $1.70
-1 lb of organic pasta $1.29


Start off by pulling the skin off your chicken legs.  I give that to my dog. Toss your chicken legs in a pot of water.
While its getting a boil go ahead and chop your veggies all up. You will want to add your veggies depending on how thick they are. Harder veggies like carrots and celery take a long time to cook so those usually go in first.  For tonight's soup I tossed in carrots and onion first. My kids like onion taste just not the actual chewing the onion.  Cooking it a long time makes onion mushy and disappear.


Cook the chicken and veggies for 5 minutes on a high boil.  Then toss in your not so hard veggies. In my soup I added chard stems and mushrooms.   Cook for another 5 minutes. 
Once you have cooked your vegetables for a while you can add in your noodles.  These noodles only take a few minutes to cook.
I add my delicate veggies last.  Things like herbs get bitter when cooked for a long time so I add them last.  This is also where I added my tea ball full of echinacea.  My girls have a cold so tea is always on the menu. They get a little sick of drinking the tea so I came up with this idea.  (they never knew!)

I then took the chicken legs out and let them cook for a few minutes.  Once cool to the touch I pulled all the meat off and set it aside.  Other meaty and fatty parts were given to my dog. Lucky dog! I saved the bones for later.  All meat was added back to the soup.
And there ya have chicken soup with a shot of echinacea.  You can leave out the echinacea of course but I think I will add it anytime one of us is sick.  This made enough soup for us for dinner and some for the girls school lunches tomorrow.  Very hearty and filling!

TOTAL=$4.94 WOOT!

Bonus-Those bones I had left over? Those were tossed into a pot with lots of water and boiled for another 30 minutes.  Once done I took the bones out and tossed them in the garbage.  The chicken stock was cooled and put into the fridge.  In the morning I will skim off any fat (which shouldn't have any) and use it in tomorrows meal.  I will use the chicken stock, left over Mexican rice from yesterday and toss in some tomato juice. There you have instant tortilla soup! Plus its free because I used left overs! Woot woot!