Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Making lemonade

Last week was a scary week. I would go into detail, but I feel as if I don't want the public to know every gorey and depressing details of my families life. Who knows who's reading. Let's just say that I felt like we reached a bottom. On top of that occurence, the reality set in that my husband is on his 10th month of unemployment with only a limited amount of unemployment benefits left. We never thought we'd be in this position in our lives since we'd always done well for ourselves. What a shock we've had.

Because we cancelled our vacation this week due to lack of funds, I had some time off to clear my head and take care of some loose ends. Some stress was relieved by painting up a storm the past couple of days and nights. Also cooking, hanging out with friends, going to the farm, and taking pics of nature and animals.

Today I made pumpkin muffins and spiced apple juice. The house smelt like fall, and I loved it. I always think it's weird that most pumpkin recipes require canned pumpkin. I make my own dang puree. It's mucho easy, and I don't eat out of cans anymore. Well we sometimes use glass canned products. We rarely eat anything that's pre made.

The other day when I was working, my husband bought a pre frozen meal and cookies. I was admittedly a little ticked off. It gives me the idea to utilize the freezer more, and make some our own home made frozen food for him to heat up. It's way too expensive to buy that crap. Not to mention it usually contains sub par ingredients and preservatives.

We're saving money in many ways, but I figure our health is nothing to cut corners on. We will always buy the cheapest, local, Organic products. I'd rather starve then eat poisoned food. That's why I'm psyched on the Organic farm share and buying our meat in bulk from a local farmer. Ideally, we would grow all of our own, and raise our own meat, but we rent a townhouse with a tiny yard. That's not even close to being feasible. We're cutting out hair cuts, trying to use our gas guzzling truck less, trying to sell the bike, and mending broken clothing to mention a few. I want to cut the TV out as much as possible too. We might potentially come to a point where we really can't afford it. This is the best way we can manage.

Tomorrow is perogie making day. I'm still working on utilizing our whole vegetable food share and storing it properly so that we don't waste food. The perogies will take up the potato collection we have going. I'm also debating on ways to preserve the patty pan and butternut squash, green peppers, and sweet potatoes. Maybe I can precut sweet potato "fries", and freeze them?? Or sweet potato perogies?? Or just freeze pureed sweet potatos? Seriously, what do you do with 20 green peppers before they go bad?? This share has been extremely cost worthy especially if you can't use everything right away and store it for the future. I recommend checking out Growing Home Coop if you get a chance.

My father is an extremely frugal man. He was even given the title "The biggest cheap skate in Charlotte" from a local paper for saving so much money. He's takes it to another level. He catalogs all of his finances, bills, gas and energy use, budget, etc. Perhaps I should be inspired by this, but numbers aren't my thing. I do what I "feel" is best as a victim to my left brain. What I do know is that the trips to Whole Paycheck are lessening, and that means we're spending less.

Thankfully my funk has been somewhat lifted. The only thing is, I'm afraid to go back into my regular routine of working to the bone again. At least my mind will be in a better space with a recharged battery.


  1. Tegan! you are not alone. But I can tell you what to do with those peppers. I blend onions, peppers, garlic and cilantro +spices (oregano, salt, cumin etc). This is called SOFRITO for latinos. I do it all the time so that my veggies don't go bad. I also wish I had a bigger yard, but I live in an apartment. I never used to eat canned food, but now I buy some items and store them just in case :/

    ps: Where do you buy bulk meat?

  2. sweet potato perogies, then you can saute them with brown butter and sage..... let me know how those turn out...

  3. Jori, I think I am going to do the sweet potato perogies. It sounds goood! I'll have to do it next week though. Today starts my 6 days of madness wrking in three states.

    Linda, We live in a townhouse so we only have a small garden. I've read a lot about vertical gardening that I think we'll try next year if we're still here. You can use PVC tubing with holes cut out to maximize small space. I'm def going to try and make the Sofrito. How do you store it??

  4. @ tegan here's a good sofrito recipe for you:
    * 2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
    * 1 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
    * 10 ajies dulces peppers, tops removed
    * 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
    * 4 onions, cut into large chunks
    * 3 medium heads garlic, peeled
    * 25 cilantro leaves with stems
    * 25 leaves recao, or culantro
    * 1 tablespoon salt
    * 1 tablespoon black pepper

    the ajies dulces are hard to find sometimes, they are small little peppers that look similar to habaneros but more sweet than hot...those and cilantro and culantro are crucial to make authentic sofrito i think, it really brings out the flavor. i have made it several diff ways but this is the best kind. i freeze it in 1/2 c portions in small ziploc keeps for months at a time. i use it in so many things... its good for guacamole..just put 2 tbs of sofrito with some lime juice, salt and pepper with the avocado and its delicious. great as a base for spanish rice, for meat marinades, in beef or chicken empanadas/ pastelitos. in stuffed peppers, in spaghetti sauces, etc. you will love it! i always keep some on hand ever since i was introduced to the recipe a couple years ago. sometimes i will add some honey to it and more tomatoes to make it into a salsa also and not blend it so fine.