I would like to first take a moment and apologize. I haven’t been able to keep my head on straight with all that has been going on around her much less keep blogging! But even worse – I haven’t actually been taking pictures around the house to even go with a month in review blog post. I scrounged around however, to try to find both the words and the pictures (few as they are!) to tell you about our last month.
Food: Food has been quick, nourishing, cheap and easy. Due to a myriad of reasons, our food budget has been slashed in half ($200, instead of $500 when you count going out to eat). I have to say, I think we’ve done a wonderful job eating well on such a tiny (for us!) budget. Nourishing foods, whole grains, good fats, have been the staples of our diet. Butter, coconut oil, whole milk cottage cheese, cheese and yogurt as well as big pots of rice (cooled and refrigerated so we only have to cook it once a week) have been staples. Veggies straight from the garden and meat have made this drastic reduction a lot easier on us.
E has been learning how to cook. We’ve been working with her on beginner knife skills for the past year and, while I’m not ready for her to use the big chef knife by herself while I chill and watch TV yet (joke!) she’s good enough that I can do something else in the kitchen while she cuts up the vegetables. We’ve also done a bit of baking but stirring remains difficult for her little arms to handle. She’s going to be a great little cook!
Free Food!I’ve made it my mission to find free food in my area. Not to far from where we live is a church with wonderful peach trees. After talking with the church and getting permission, we went to pick peaches. The early peaches were tiny (2 inches in diameter) but well worth it for free peaches. I’ve also received permission from one of our neighbors to pick apples and grapes and plums when we take our nightly walks.
Garden: Our garden is a wonder this year. I can’t grow a green to save my life but we have a bounty of tomatoes and tomatillos starting. We are getting 5-6 large tomatoes and 1-2 quarts of cherry tomatoes a week. C wants to double our tomato plants next year and I look forward to having some to share with neighbors and friends. Early August we were getting a few beans, lots of cherry tomatoes, herbs and beets.
Later in the month we’ve been swimming in all tomatoes, harvesting bush and pole beans, pulling jalapenos and concord grapes. Yum. I am trying to grow chard and spinach and E and I planted more beets, carrots, radishes and lettuce. We’ll see if I get a Fall garden with all my hard work!
Preservation: In an attempt to stay within our new $200 a month food budget, we’ve been trying trying to do as many low cost or free things as we can. We dehydrated the free peaches and will do more to have in the winter when we really need it. We’ve been canning sweet and yummy jams including this amazing Satsuma Plum Jam using local fruit from the farms market. I am always on the look out for items to can and we are planning to stop by a berry farm to gather berries to can or freeze. Along the way there is a lovely farm stand where we can purchase vegetables for a very low price. I hope to dehydrate some summer squash this weekend to use in soups and stews this winter.
Keep us in your thoughts and prayers – We hope that your August has been as blessed as ours!