A subject I love and hate. I love to eat and used to love to cook (bake, more specifically) but lately, I've just been so hard-pressed to come up with even a simple meal! Read on to see how I've just recently ventured into something that's completely helped motivate me!
I used to eat really well (with a few necessary sweets). Then, I got married.
Okay, so it's not Jeremy's fault, but I wanted to please him, make what he liked, and I wasn't going to make him food and different food for me. So, I just started to eat what he liked and my healthy eating has gone down ever since. Not horrible, but just not great. White rice and pasta instead of whole wheat. Less veggies, fruits, etc. Plus, with our very limited budget, it's difficult to buy fresh - it's just expensive! And organic is almost out of the question.
And when I don't have much choice of food, I get unmotivated very quickly.
But, I've been wanting to find a way to eating less processed (more simply) on a budget. We still eat plenty of processed foods, but I'm working toward more whole foods in our diet, especially since the girl is eating table foods and we want her to eat well, which means we need to also!
"Even though we cannot draw the line precisely at the point where sufficiency ends and excess consumption starts, a standard appropriate to the present world situation would insist that the majority of Americans consume far too much."
Gardening (although our "property" is not nearly large or fertile enough to support us fully),
Gardening provides organic, pesticide free food for us. A recap on what we're growing this year: corn, watermelon (maybe?), red and yellow onions, garlic, sugar snap peas, green beans, tomatoes, dill, basil and parsley.
Have you heard of the "Dirty Dozen" and the "Clean Fifteen"? If not, follow this link on pesticides, a guide to what you should buy organic and what are fine to buy non-organic. Onions are at the top of the clean list and apples, celery and strawberries are at the top of the dirty list (ones you should always buy organic). This has really opened my eyes to what I'm feeding my family and myself! I don't want our babe to be ingesting traces of 50 different pesticides with every bite of a strawberry! So these I either won't buy or will get organically.
Well, I've finally found a way to do this.
Joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)
Basically, a CSA is a subscription to a farm to buy produce directly from the farmer every week throughout the growing season (May through October). We are paying $17 a week for the produce (market prices with sales tax added) and it's basically a surprise every week!
In last week's CSA bag (from left): 6 brown eggs, 1 med cabbage, 5 green onions, a HUGE Napa cabbage, 2 cups sugar snap peas, 1 bunch Swiss chard, 1 small bok choy, beets and on the end, our very own green beans.
My favorite one of the bunch, Swiss chard. Isn't it gorgeous?!
This week's CSA included 1 small cabbage, a bunch of red kale, two large kohlrabi, 1 bag salad greens (3 cups), 14 shallots, 1-1/2 cups red raspberries and two little roma tomatoes from our own garden (a toddler got one of those...boo.)
And my favorite of the week?? The raspberries! I can hardly wait to make something yummy with them. I grew up with a big red raspberry bush and got so spoiled with free fresh raspberries. Mmm!
For some reason, this way of getting produce has completely transformed my thinking about cooking. I'm motivated by the produce to find new recipes and new ways of cooking. Luckily, my husband is a good trier of new things (thanks love!) and even if he doesn't love it, it's okay. I'm excited to cook now! And I must meal-plan to 1) use all of my produce and 2) stay within my budget after the $17. (As opposed to spending $17 at the farmer's market every Saturday and still not knowing what to get.)
I'll be doing a weekly update on what CSA produce we get every week in case anyone is interested in trying it out!!
Finally, we were given an awesome anniversary gift. Our teflon cookware (Jeremy bought over 5 years ago) was getting scratched and sticking. It was time for new. Teflon can give off harmful chemicals when it starts to break down and stainless steel is a much better (healthier) option.
We've switched to cooking with stainless steel! It definitely has a learning curve after cooking for so long with non-stick cookware, but it's so nice to stir something with a wire whisk and not be afraid flecks of Teflon are contaminating the food. I love it! (FYI: We did keep a very small omelet non-stick pan for pain free fried eggs.)
(Ladybug posing with our new 10-piece set of Berghof pots and pans.)
Share your food tips with me! And what do you think of my new adventure into a CSA?