Sunday, September 11, 2011

Day 15

Been pretty busy the last couple of days.  I'm trying to do a complete overhaul of our lives, changing not only what we eat, but drastically reducing the amount of chemicals in our home while simutaniously saving money by making my own natural products (like cleaning supplies, toothpaste, shampoo, deoderant, etc).  Of course, this isn't something you can change overnight, and the initial cost of ingredients can be expensive (but cheaper in the long run).

Yesterday I sold a camera lens for a pretty good amount of money and I promptly invested the money in my kitchen.  First, I went to the Farmer's Market and Whole Foods to get our groceries for the week.

This was my haul from the Farmer's Market.  I went to a larger one this time, it was pretty enjoyable.  The chicken and beef are organic, the vendor was really nice... he also sells raw milk for $7 a gallon, he gets it from a local Amish community!  (50 cents off if you bring your own gallon jug).

After I had food, I started hunting for kitchen supplies.  When you're preparing food in tradition ways, you suddenly find yourself in need of various kitchen appliances that you previously never gave a second thought to.  Like a tortilla press, for example.

I'm pretty frugal - we live on a tight budget and I was raised to live within my means.   I am all about thrift stores and craigslist, not only to save green, but to be green, too.  Buying used reduces waste and saves money.

The first thing I found was a popcorn maker.  My whole family was excited about this.  To celebrate, my son and I popped a big bowl and read a library book together, The Popcorn Book.

I learned that popcorn kernels should be kept cold to retain their moisture, so we transferred our bag into a glass jar and stored it in the fridge.  The popcorn itself reminded me of when I was a kid and my dad would always pop our own popcorn (never microwaved bags!) and smother it in salt and melted butter.  Mmm, it was so good.  I'm more than happy to pass this tradition on to my own kids.

The next thing I purchased was a cast iron skillet.  I was really excited about this, I've always wanted one but never splurged on it because I already have pans and they're fine.  But teflon is not fine!  I tossed our teflon into the trash (thankfully we have a few pieces of stainless steel already, and now this awesome skillet).  I did buy this brand new because it was actually cheaper than the used one's I found on craigslist.

I also found this ice cream maker, and I got it for 50% off it's original price.   The family was excited about this as well.  I also have happy memories of my mom's homemade ice cream (SO GOOD), and I am pretty anxious to make some.  Of course, you won't find those colorful sprinkles or artifically-colored cherries in my kitchen.  You know that shiny coating on sprinkles?  Well, they get that glaze from the secretions of the female lac beetle. The substance is also known as shellac and commonly used as a wood varnish.  Yum, right?

Last but not least, I bought a 3-crock slow cooker.  I thought this seemed like a fantastic idea, given that I could cook dinner and 2 side-dishes with minimal effort, or tomorrow's breakfast, lunch and dinner all at the same time in seperate crocks.  When I'm pressed for time, this will come in handy.

Speaking of crock pots, I stuck my organic, free-range, happy, bug-eating chicken in the crock pot today with some water.  I slow cooked it all day until it was falling off the bone.  So delicious.  I saved and froze the broth to use later, probably to cook beans (beans are more flavorful & nutritious when cooked in broth rather than water!)

I still have some cash left and I'm buying a food processor off craigslist with it tomorrow.  It will come in handy for so many things.  I'm getting my kitchen "up to speed" for traditional cooking.  In the meantime, next weekend my friends and I are setting up a booth at a flea market.  I'm hoping a make a good chunk of cash to start gathering ingredients and supplies to make all my own homemade cleaning solutions.

Still need to find a tortilla press...

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