In an attempt to live more like we use to, now that our lives have finally settled down after the move and the NICU baby absorbed our last two summers' time and ambition, we are having a "no spend" July. I wanted to do it partially because it would spur me to use more of the pantry stuff up and cook all of our meals instead of most. The other, prosaic part is that I like the idea of tightening our belts a little after the new roof, new sewer main, new back door, and basement support beams came (unexpectedly) all at once.
Since we've made the choice that I'm not going out to make money, what I can do at home is figure out ways to save it. Our rules are nothing "unnecessary". Regular bills are necessary and pretty much everything else isn't really necessary. You might make a case that food is a necessary expenditure, but a look at our pantry and freezer suggests that it is not a very immediate need. We have already prepaid for our egg, veggie, and milk CSAs, which pretty much covers fresh foods. I've got a little of the "prepper" in me and feel better with a full larder but it will be nice to trim it down a little for a month (or two?) before we start stocking it for the winter again in September. I did buy a loaf of bread and some lunch meat to help with Q's lunches in the coming week though. Maybe a roast next weekend, thin sliced for sandwiches? Pork loin? Getting breadmaking back into the regular cycle can eliminate those groceries next week. I like not going to the grocery store (aka dens of evil processed temptation). :)
And it's SUMMER! GARDEN SEASON! Fresh, inspiring foods constantly appearing in my yard and in our CSA from the farm down the street. I love having a garden again. I'll have to do a garden post very soon but we have about 1000 sq. ft. of garden just starting to take off for the season.
Anyway, on to my new delicious finds...
Five Anaheim peppers needed to be picked. This recipe was the inspiration but I used canned chicken breast (9.75 oz. can) and just winged it with proportions until it looked right (including green onion from the garden!) They were small peppers so there was extra stuffing but it was perfect for Willow baked by itself so she didn't have the peppers' heat.
The farm linked this recipe to its Facebook followers since the CSA has been getting a nice bunch of radishes each week. I liked the idea but a recipe seemed like so much work (dramatic sigh). I just used 3/4c apple cider vinegar, 1c hot water, and a large teaspoon full of honey to make the brine then put a bit of dill in the jar (also from CSA) and dumped in the sliced radishes (not paper thin from a mandolin). They're darn good. Wil is so funny about anything pickled and these were no exception. She's pretty much willing to eat as much as I'm willing to give her.
They remind me a lot of sauerkraut and make me want some other strong flavor to complement them (think Reuben sandwiches). I've been virtually creating in my head with chopping some up with something else and making kind of a chutney to serve over patties of kasha? Still pondering...
I looked up our old favorite breakfast cookie recipe today. I had forgotten it took bran flakes, which we don't have and I didn't really want to buy (even if we weren't no spending). Happily I found these and I think I like them even better than the old ones. Quentin will argue that they aren't really that recipe any more so I'll document my changes here. Most of them were made because of the ingredients I had on hand.
- replaced the apple sauce with apricot puree
- skimped on the syrup and used 3/4c (instead of 1c) for a double batch. It is grade b though, which we think has more flavor (along with being cheaper).
- replaced the pistachios with walnut pieces
- left out the flax seed (if I had any I would have put these in since they're the healthy fat source)
Okay, Quentin may have a point...
I'm so happy to be cooking and planning more rigorously again. I just feel better when we're eating this way. Hopefully, there will be lots of new discoveries to come. The ground cherries are just starting to ripen so we have a whole new fruit that we've never had before.