Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Jumbo Zucchini

Jumbo zucchini, a plethora of peppers, one lonely stalk of broccoli, and a single gnarled carrot.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Some facts:

  • Within 72 hours of milling wheat, 90% of its nutritional value has dissipated.

  • All-purpose white flour has to have vitamins replaced which were removed in the milling process. Only the endosperm remains in white flour, while essential nutrients, oils, and fiber is found in the bran and germ.

  • Any "whole wheat flour" you purchase at the store is missing lots of the nutritional value of freshly-milled-today whole wheat flour.

  • When you buy something that is marketed as "whole wheat bread" chances are you are eating enriched white flour, and that it has carmel color added to make it darker colored (to trick you!) and of course, it has high fructose corn syrup in it. If you want true (store bought) whole wheat bread, the first ingredient should be "Stone ground whole wheat flour."


Ok, so since I've recently decided to be uber picky about the bread I buy and eat and feed my family, I've discovered that there is no bread on the market (that I can afford) that meets my expectations. Hence, I have decided to make my own bread. Secondly, since I have decided that there is no wheat flour on the market that meets my expectations, I have also decided to mill my own wheat berries.

I have a great recipe (thanks to Aunt Sue for lending me Pantry Secrets, which you can make in just 1 hour!) and today I bought a grain mill (ok, the hand crank kind, but it's what I could afford for now...) I just baked my first loaves of fresh-milled whole wheat bread and they are beautiful and delicious. This bread is better tasting, has way more nutritional value and is therefore better for our bodies (I am a huge advocate of fiber!!!), and is infinetly cheaper than store bought bread.

(Ok, I confess that the milling was kind of a workout. It took me 20 minutes to grind enough flour for these two loaves, so I will definately be investing in a NutriMill in the near future, but for now Chris will do the milling for me, but not even a day in advance, mind you).

Ingredients: Freshly milled whole wheat flour, Sugar, Salt, Yeast, Soy Lecithin, Water. That's it!

I am hooked, and I feel so liberated!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

A Rant on Luxuries and Necessities

Well. We crunched the numbers and realized that we were spending too much money. Thus, we decided that since Samuel has allergies, is still wearing diapers, and eats more than his older sister, and thus costs more to maintain, he would be the one to go.

Just kidding.

Actually, we decided to have a budget and stick to it. We figured that was a more permanent solution to our predicament than getting rid of one of the kids.

Here's what we did. You have to budget for things that only happen once or twice a year, so if you are going to have to register your cars for $350 once a year, then you have to put away 1/12th of that ($30)every month, same with clothing, car maintenance, etc. So then we totaled up our monthly expenses for our tithing, mortgage, household expenses, insurance, utilities, car maintenance, entertainment, personal spending, clothing, etc, and whatever was left would be our grocery budget. Oh, yeah, and that's while paying down those credit cards and trying to put a little away in savings while we're at it!

Well folks, magic number is $290/month. Does it sound that hard to feed a family of four on $290/month? It doesn't sound that bad. But looking over our expenses for 2010 thus far, we had been spending and average of $600/month on groceries. So, does it sound so hard to cut your food budget in half? Yes! That is a major change of lifestyle for us. I guess we just like to eat.

But what are necessities? Is dishwasher soap a necessity for people of my generation? Or do we have the patience to wash dishes by hand if need be? Do you have the determination to make powdered milk and homemade bread? What do you break your budget for that you absolutely cannot live without?

I'll answer that. Dish soap, homemade bread, powdered milk I can handle. But I've already learned that diapers must be in the budget because I cannot live without those (I mean, I can't live with Samuel without those, and we've already decided to keep him.) And WiFi. I don't think I can live without that. What about you?

So here we are. Buying potatoes because they are dirt cheap, foregoing the $2.50 box of fruit snacks because that's a lot for processed sugar(!), finding ways to put zucchini in everything because they keep appearing in my backyard garden (okay, I know I planted them there, but there are just so many...), and the list goes on. I find myself keeping track of how much money I have left while I'm grocery shopping, and I'm asking myself, do I want to spent $4 on a can of french fried onions, or do I want to buy toilet paper?

To live on $290 a month, we absolutely had to make a dinner menu. I got the basic breakfast foods and lunchy type things, but planning out our dinners and getting only those ingredients made a huge difference on how much I spent at the grocery store. Plus, I am more organized each night at dinner time because I know what I'm making, and we have lots of leftovers (hence, I also planned a leftovers night!) My latest victory is that I finally mustered up the guts to price match at Walmart and probably saved $15 on 2-week's menu. Way to go me!

So, that's what's been on my mind lately. End of rant.