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Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

"Jeremy, pass me the salad pot please"

After losing a lot of great Farmer's Market weekends with an injury that laid me up for weeks I have been very disappointed in what little of my experiment I accomplished.  In April I had big dreams that by down my freezer would of been stocked and our basement pantry shelf would be lined with goods. Maybe that was a dream a little too out of reach, I have never tried to properly preserve or freeze foods before.

I am not completely down on myself.  For all the weeks I was not out of town or injured I made it faithfully.  Twice in the rain and once on crutches....and even more times with a hangover, getting up earlier than I ever would want to on a lazy Saturday.

Looking forward, I am still not at a place I can devote the attention I need to a fall garden nor the skill level.  Not sold on CSA's yet, I love the idea but not the limitations on food selection in fall/winter.  One thing I am going to attempt is growing some different salad greens in some plant pots.  Won't be a full investment in gardening, but it might be a nice trial run  to see if I have any sort of green thumb.  www.bhg.com has some great container ideas, including pots (that I have failed to grow flowers in) that might be enough to keep the rabbits out and get a healthy side item on the dinner table each night.

Lettuce was one of those things that was hard for me to keep up with at the farmer's market.  I always got some much of it and then trying to wash it and keep it non-wilted by the end of the week to get a few lunches out of it wasn't working for me.  maybe going out and plucking off a meals work will.  We will see!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Why did the chicken cross the road?

After reading a frightening article on how much saline is pumped into chicken breasts, such as Tyson (those chickens are some 34- DD's) I haven't been so quick to fall for a $1.99 per pound sale.  If you don't believe me, check for yourself.  Pick up a thing of Tyson or your store brand and compare it to the organic brands-big differences in the sodium content.

You will notice a taste difference as well.  The chicken cooks cleaner.  It might not look as if you are getting a lot for your money, but per pound you are paying for water with the other brands.  My favorite brand is Just Bare.  A neat feature of buying their brand is you can trace the package back to the farm the chicken came from.

In my efforts to buy as much local products as I can, chicken is one that I can get locally but will not be making the switch to.  First of all, it is very difficult to find local chicken already broke down (or cut up).  You can primarily buy it whole. The processing for a farmer to have it be butchered is very expensive, so that cost will be your costs as well.  I would love to say I had more of a reason to not buy whole chickens and break them down myself but my reasoning is pure selfishness.  For one, I have an almost irrational fear of raw chicken.  I am surprised I can cook with it at all, but usually if I can slide it from its packaging on to a plate and then use tongs I am good to cook with it.  Getting all up in one's cavity would probably have me scrubbing myself and my kitchen for days.  Which leads to the 2nd reason, time.  I don't have time to process chicken.

Buying organic chicken will raise the cost of your grocery bill but be on the look out for sales.  Just bare usually runs $4.99-$6 a pound at Hy-Vee.  I try to pick up 3 or 4 packages when it goes on sale.  It still isn't ever a $1.99 but it is worth the difference in taste and texture.

So now that you had to read through this boring blog just to finally have the eternal question of why the chicken crossed the road answered I guess I will let you in on the fact I already have.

To get breast implants.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Breakfast at Sunrise

The following weekend I surprised Jeremy with a farm fresh breakfast.  We found an awesome guy at City Market that we try to always buy from.  I got eggs from him.  I had been very weird-ed out by eggs that aren't refrigerated but decided to go for it, started out by only cooking with them (adding them in recipes that called for eggs).  I finally got up the courage to make some omelets.  I was so ecstatic to see the bright and beautiful shades of yellow & orange of my finished omelet. It was as beautiful as the morning sky was that same spring day!  In the omelet, and also from the market was: grilled zucchini, tomato, and green onion.  On the side some turkey bacon and a tall glass of Shatto milk.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I would walk 500 miles....

Actually I wouldn't.  No way, wouldn't make it.  I barely make it 3 miles in this heat.  I don't feel bad about it, our two dogs want to take a rest after a 3 mile walk in June.

I will however buy and cook food grown within 500 miles of where I live.  I was very pleased two weeks ago to finally have made an almost complete meal from locally grown foods, and I did much better than the 500 mile DGD (day-goods-distance) allowance.  Everything from the milk, herbs, and vegetables are were grown within a 2 hour drive from my house.  The only thing I didn't get locally was the chicken but it was organic.  here is what was on the menu:

Honey broiled chicken (honey was local)
smashed red potatoes and turnips (Shatto milk used)
Sauteed snap peas

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wooden Money

I found myself at the market and without cash on Saturday.  I know better than to head down without getting some cash first but my mind was not in it Saturday (Memorial weekend).  Even though I didn't want to think about the ATM fee's I tried it anyways but the ATM was out of order.

Then I remember reading on some promotional flier that you could use your ATM card and in exchange get these wooden tokens that the vendors would take.  I was pretty excited about this!  For one, it only charged me a dollar, much cheaper than the ATM would charge.  Two, I know there has been a big push for people on food stamps to eat healthier and they started this program so they could swipe their food stamp card for these wooden tokens. As someone who works with the poor each day at a place with a food pantry I am always pushing for healthier eating amongst my clients.  I have told several of them already about this program without knowing how it works myself.

The wooden tokens are sold in $5 increments so I got $20 worth.  (If I am planning and don't get carried away this is about what I spend.).  The first vendor I went up to wouldn't take my token and he looked at me a little irritated I would even offer.  I went up to the next booth and asked if they would take it and they did, no problems.  I found myself needing to explain that I wasn't poor but the ATM was broken and that is why all I had to offer was wooden money.  I continually found myself needing to explain it to every other booth I went to. One lady frowned at me and said "I guess", begrudgingly taking the round piece no bigger than a half dollar. The only person who smiled when taking it was a long haired, skinny man reminding all of us we are addicted to Monsanto and don't even know it.  He actually seemed delighted in the form of currency.

I made it through my $20 finally, even getting $3 back in green paper money to spend elsewhere.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The colors of the rainbow are still in the ground

I looked out my bedroom window yesterday afternoon to see one of my neighbor's tilling away at her garden.  She has been doing that non-stop for days now.  I am impressed with the care and concern she has placed on each of her garden boxes.  I inquired  to how she was doing and she still seemed excited to be gardening. I see life sprouting up which is such an accomplishment on its own.  She has about as green of a thumb as I do, so for one week in and there still to be excitement in her voice was impressive to me.

I wanted garden boxes.  I asked Jeremy to construct them for me but they never did get made.  I am as much to fault, I didn't press hard for them.  I am taking on local food and Insanity work out already.  I don't think I can add laboring the fields (or shall I say 4' x 4' boxes) to the mess as well.

Since my "official start date" has been pushed back I didn't head to the farmers market this week.  My observations from not going:  I can see how dependent I am on going to be on weekly shopping.  I went to Wal-Mart to get items for the week and I didn't want to buy fruits and vegetables from them.  I felt like a traitor already...I am trying to eat as near to perfect of a healthy diet as I can for Insanity and for my own health.  That left me with the drabbest looking shopping cart of food.  Oats, plain yogurt, granola, and cottage cheese made up the basket. The depressing lack of color would be helped out if I had some fresh fruits to mix in with them.  Like I said, I could bring myself to by them at Wal-Mart so this week will be plain and bland.  I guess that will get my butt in gear for an early trip to the market on Saturday.  Wal-mart itself is not keeping with my goals.  Nothing at Wal-mart is local but they have a surprising "organic" and natural selection to choose from and at a cheap cost.  I have to remember cost is not the goal.  I don't want to raise my grocery bill by any means but the idea of corporation is what I am trying to remove myself from.

I feel like my head is spinning a bit, trying to incorporate the Insanity workout/eating, along with my shopping local experiment.  Maybe I took too much on at once?  It seems like they should go hand in hand but right now I am not connecting the pieces.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Thoughts Squashed

My goal start date was the first weekend in April.  My preliminary run was March 26th. It was a cool Saturday but nice enough to run around in a light jacket.  I gathered up my shopping bags and headed up to the River Market with my neighbor and husband.  (My husband is still leery of my plans to have us on a diet of locally grown, organic, and limited grocery store experience so he is tagging a long to see how this is exactly going to work).

Disappointment.  The isles that are usually loaded with Mennonites and their truck beds filled with potatoes, carrots, squash, and zucchini were empty.  The few days of warm weather had tricked me into thinking the bountiful harvest was ripe and ready.  I don't know why?  I have dabbled in gardening.  I know plants don't produce overnight.  Most people haven't even laid seed yet this season with threats of more cold and wet days ahead. 

I have thought and thought about my little project since its inception last October.  Nothing I could really do then since the fall in the Midwest doesn't grow much.  I know I jumped the gun a bit but I was excited.  With all the thinking I did, I didn't do much planning.  I didn't plan that it will be May now before I have a readily available selection.  I didn't plan how much food we can eat so we don't waste when we are buying fresh.  I haven't taken in consideration yet what we are going to do next fall.  Months after we start the project how we are going to sustain when the food isn't being produced.  I have never canned or froze fresh fruits and vegetables....

Although it isn't local food there are a few stands in the River Market that have fresh produce.  In my eagerness I bought and bought some more.  And although I can't say it is the start of my experiment it has showed me that the ill-planning on my part could pose some wastefulness and keep me from my grocery store limitations that I have hoped for.

Week 2 didn't fair any better.  My husband tagged along again.  Our car had broken down so we took the city bus to the River Market.  It added a sense of adventure to the whole thing, if you are familiar with Kansas City's Metro you would understand.  It also allowed us to decide that we would use the bus as often as we can for our weekly trips.  It seems to go hand in hand nicely.  We did buy some meat from some local farms.  There was still no produce, this time I expected that so i wasn't disappointed.  I decided to go again just to keep getting used to the changes I am making.  (One big one being waking up early on a Saturday).  Although meat is much more expensive the taste and the way it cooks up make up for it.  I hope we start using less meat but that one will be hard on us.  We usually have a meat, starch, and vegetable with every meal at dinner time.

Week 3 I started at the farmers market in downtown Overland Park.  They had their kick-off weekend the week before so I was hopeful that maybe there was enough to get started with.  There wasn't anything but plants, herbs, meat, and some various craft and misc. vendors.  My neighbor was with me again.  She and I headed back down to River Market and stocked up on some produce from the booths that aren't local, but fresh once again.  I spent $20 and got a lot.  Again, its a good trial and error phase.  We had a nice lunch and sat out and enjoyed the beautiful day.  This was River Markets kickoff weekend so a lot was going on.  There were a few farmers with some tomatoes, squash, and a small amount of this and that.  It made me hopeful of what is to come.  I adventured into the Asian market for the first time, a grocery store filled with whole fish, bags of rice, and unually items I have never seen.  The smell was bad, but tolerable. (My amazement was stronger than my sense of smell).

I am still excited, maybe even more so than I was before.