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Archive for May, 2014

Pantry meals, rethining the stockpile, and first garden harvests

May 21st, 2014 at 07:32 am

I've been feeling compelled to try to save some money and use up what we have in the pantry. That, and get rid of clutter. I feel like we have too much stuff. We probably have much less than other families (after all, we can still fit cars in our garage!), but it's just not organized very well. Hopefully, I can remedy this.

So, on my quest to use up pantry food, this week we;ve eaten

-Navy bean soup with ham (the last of the Easter ham), plus pumpkin bread made with a leftover can of pumpkin puree from Thanksgiving.
-tilapia from the freezer, fried in Zatarain's New Orleans fish fry, with leftover yellow rice.
-We made peanut butter cookies in a plan to use what we have rather than buy treats.

I'm also thinking of using up my stockpile of shampoos, and personal care products. I've been reading a lot of about how many toxic chemicals are in personal care products (because U.S. companies can put pretty much anything in them and they don't have to put it on the label) and it can cause all sorts of allergies and health issues. I'm thinking of switching over to the organic brand-ish options.

Those are more expensive, but I was thinking. Do I really need a whole bathroom closet full of shampoo, or can I just buy one or two at a time when I need them? Sure, the less-chemically brands are spendier, but how often do I really buy that stuff? It wouldn't add up to that much more cost every year.

That is what I am thinking. Any input would be appreciated.

And finally, I am getting sooooo close to the first garden harvest. I'm so excited. I have some lettuce that's almost ready to cut, and some peppermint and oregano that are ready to be snipped and dried.

I'm tracking how much money I've spent on my garden ($756 so far, most of it for one-time expenses), and how much I'm getting out of it, plus dollar value of all the fresh goodies. I'm interested to see if we can actually save money by food gardening.

Of course, this year, we had a lot of infrastructure improvements, like importing 10 cubic yards of compost, building new raised beds and trellises, etc., that will not be among our expenses next year. But if we can break even this year, we will be profitable next year!

I also had a new vision. A few weeks ago, I traded some of my seedlings for firewood. What a great deal.

My hope is that as our production grows, we can set up more of these kinds of trades for things we need and want but can't produce: I'm thinking firewood, honey, eggs, etc. I'm good at starting seeds and I have perennial flowers to share, so maybe over time, we can make something like that work.

Eating from the pantry challenge, garden progress

May 14th, 2014 at 07:59 am

I ran across this eat-down-the-pantry challenge from one of my new favorite blogs. It reminds me of something we do here.

http://www.nwedible.com/2014/04/eat-from-the-larder-challeng...

I'm probably going to eat down my pantry this next week or two. I realize I've got soooo much stuff and soooo much food already. Why not just buy milk and veggies and see what we can come up with? Maybe it's the spring cleaning bug. I'm ready to clear out the old and have some empty spaces in my house, whether its the basement storage or the pantry shelves.

I admit I have another motive. Hubby bought me a way too expensive mother's day gift ( a $2,000 laptop computer. I'd be happy with a $500 one, but he's a computer geek so low end is not an option for electronics. Sigh), so now I have to figure out how to pay for it. I thought about returning it, but my mom said not to. He never buys me gifts, and he told her it's because I never like what he gets. She thinks if I send it back, I'll never get anything again!

Oh well. So yeah, trying to pay for it out of cash flow by mid-June. We might be able to do it. If I cut on groceries, send all my freelance checks to the CC, and some of the next paycheck, that might do it. We'll see.

In other news, the pantry challenge might be good because garden season is ramping up and I have a lot of canned goods still from last season. Might be good to empty some jars and clear some room for this year's harvest.

Unfortunately, planting is on hold another week as we have a cold front coming through. Crazy weather this year. So, I have a bunch of plants sitting in limbo.



But, the perennial onions are doing great!