Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Snacks and meals around here

Okay, so I've been thinking about what keeps our grocery bill so low. As I said yesterday, a large part of it is our gardens and orchard.

But it's also the way we use our gardens and orchard that helps our budget, I believe. Our snacks and meals use garden produce heavily.

In our house, whenever someone asks what there is to snack on, I direct them to the fruit bowl (plums, apples, pears from the orchard), applesauce (from our apple trees), fresh tomatoes (ripening rapidly this month), the yogurt (homemade with marked down whole milk), homemade sourdough bread (not much more than flour, salt, sugar and starter), sunseed butter, or popcorn (popped in a pan on the stove).

So, our snacks are very basic, wholesome foods, most of which have little preparation either for me or the snacker. I really discourage snacking on cookies and other desserts. The extra sugar isn't good for us. I can really feel my blood sugar plummet an hour after something sugary without whole grains or protein or fats to slow the absorption. I tend to feel that an afternoon snack should really be more like a 4th meal. A little protein (yogurt or sunseed butter), a whole grain (the bread or popcorn) and fruits or vegetables. I know I feel better eating this way, so I'm guessing my family does as well. 

Breakfasts are often oatmeal (made from oats, with fruit from our trees added), homemade granola, muffins (again with homegrown fruit added), yogurt, milk, coffee and/or toast. A couple of times per month we have packaged cold cereal, pancakes or waffles. I don't buy juice very often, as I prefer that we eat whole fruit. Right now we're getting our vitamin C in the form of fresh tomatoes, and other produce daily. In early November I'll be buying oranges in 10 lb. bags, which will provide our vitamin C.

Examples of recent breakfasts--
Saturday - donuts (freebie from the bakery thrift last week, not a great food, but it was a treat), applesauce, yogurt
Sunday - oatmeal with cinnamon and apples added, milk
Monday - blueberry muffins (our blueberries from the freezer), milk

Lunches are also rather basic around here. Weekday to-go lunches -- typically they include a sandwich with either sunflower seed butter and homemade jam, or garbanzo bean spread, some fruit (plums for the past few weeks), some yogurt (homemade), and homemade cookies. About once or twice a week, the sandwich is swapped out for a cup of homemade soup, and bread and butter. Weekday home lunches (me) -- I usually have some leftover soup, some bread and fruit for lunch. Weekend lunches are often a very large pot of soup, with bread, fruit and dessert.

Examples of recent lunches--
Sunday (Sunday was a repeat of Saturday) - black bean/tomato/potato soup topped with cheese, homemade sourdough bread, plum pie
Monday - sunflower seed butter sandwiches, plums, yogurt, brownies

Dinners vary more than the other meals, for us. They're based on what we have that needs eating up. And this time of year, they're heavy on fresh produce.

Examples of recent dinners--
Saturday - kids cooked fried rice, made with leftover cooked brown rice, and vegetables and eggs. Also with dinner, we had fresh tomatoes, apple slices and microwaved brownies.
Sunday - a rushed dinner, as 3 of the 5 had someplace to be for the evening, so made a quick dinner of burritos (refried beans, brown rice, cheese, in whole wheat tortillas), fresh tomatoes, homemade applesauce
Monday - beef stew made with beef, barley, mushrooms, and some frozen mixed veggies from the store, and from the garden - potatoes, parsley, Swiss chard, and tomatoes, homemade sourdough bread (freshly baked), fruit salad (pears, plums, apples from the garden in a dressing of currant jelly, mayo and whipped topping), and a green salad (lettuce and tomatoes from our garden, in a dressing of pickle juice, vinegar and oil), and the last of the microwaved brownies

For the most part, where ever you see mention of a vegetable or fruit (exceptions being onions, garlic, a bag of frozen mixed veggies, mushrooms), it's something we've grown.

I'm a rather humble cook. I prepare very basic meals. I sort through the freezers every couple of weeks to make sure we're using things up in a balanced sort of way. Some people have systems, like keeping a list of what's in the freezer. I've never gotten into that habit, but instead just rummage around and check to see what's in there from time to time.

And I do think that I find pretty good prices on the basic pantry staples, meat, milk and eggs. 



6 comments:

  1. You do a very good job managing the food for your family. Have you always liked to manage and organize things?

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    1. Hi live and learn,
      Thanks. I don't know if I actually like managing and/or organizing. I sometimes wish someone else would just tell me what to do and when. But I seem to be effective, so I work towards fulfilling that role.

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  2. You do an amazing job of serving healthful food at a very minimal cost! I truly don't know of anyone else who does as well as you do.

    I haven't decided if I'm jealous of your fruit trees or not. I love fresh fruit, but all that fruit that needs to be picked and dealt with immediately would be overwhelming to me. My in-laws have peach and pear trees and we get some of their frozen peaches and canned pears/peaches--yes, we benefit from their labor!

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    1. Thanks, Kris.
      That's wonderful that you can get peaches and pears. Peach pie is one of my favorite pies. But no peaches in our yard. Too cool for them. If you do ever decide to plant fruit trees, you might want to consider apples. From my experience they're the easiest of fruit trees to harvest. You just pick and load into a fridge, no processing, unless you want to make applesauce or apple butter.

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  3. Love to hear about people who eat Real Food; it's inspiring!

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    1. Thank you! And from what I read on your blog, you also eat whole, fresh foods. I believe eating well is the first line of defense against health problems.

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