Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Composter Is Here! and other backyard updates

I ordered the Achla CMP-05 Spinning Horizontal Composter from Amazon. Free 2-day shipping with a 30-day Amazon Prime trial and about $50 cheaper than I've seen in gardening stores ($153.99 at Amazon). I've been saving up for this since last summer.


Hooray! No turning compost with a pitchfork!







I've already discovered that I need more brown material (in other words...stinky!)

In other back yard news, I recently realized we may have a mulberry tree...or something similar. We've lived here for 6 years and it's the first year I've seen fruit on it. Sue at EcoStrides has pointed me to some good resources to help me determine what kind of tree this really is. If you have any thoughts, let me know!


And more berry news...anybody know what these white spots on the raspberries are? Too much moisture? There are more of these spots this year than prior years.

Not appetizing.

Kid-Friendly (or Kid-Tolerated) Bean Challenge Dinners

I recently received a request to post the most well-received-to-tolerated-by-the-children bean challenge meals. Here we go (7 of them):

Pinto Bean Burgers

Black Bean Tofu (I’ll try it without savory baked tofu next time)

Black Bean, Corn, and Cheddar Fritter

Lentil Loaf

Fried Tofu Stir Fry

Black Bean Burgers

Tostadas

As I mentioned earlier, our bean challenge is on hiatus. Hmm…maybe I should bring it back…

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Veggie Challenge: Summer '09: Weeks 1 & 2 & Grocery Budget

Here are the first results for our new challenge Veggie Challenge: Summer '09. As promised, I photographed the waste. This is what we did not eat. Hand is to show scale:


I've also noticed my hands are looking older. Note to self: use sunscreen on hands.


To reiterate - the challenge is as follows:

  • To eat everything we receive from the CSA and let no produce rot in the crisper.

  • To eat everything from our garden.

  • And if we can't eat it, either freeze it or give it to a friend, neighbor, or co-worker.
I did not make good on that last bullet point. I'll keep trying!

Is it really a family challenge if your kids won't eat it? They simply won't eat lettuce. I could not get our daughter to try it. Our son bit on one part of a leaf...and...done. The farm fresh organic asparagus was not enjoyed by the little ones (are they crazy?)

Here was the next week's batch. This was easy to finish. We are splitting the small share, so it was no problem to devour in mere days. I was not expecting purple asparagus or super spicy radishes:


I'm also keeping track of what we spend on groceries (a recent mini-obsession of mine). We have a bi-weekly budget we *try* to stick to, but I haven't kept a close eye on what is being spent solely on food, until recently.

Basically, I want to see if belonging to a CSA, tending a garden, and having a co-op membership will make a difference in our grocery budget. I like to buy organic groceries (and we're definitely on a budget), so I'm guessing these things together will have a positive impact (stay tuned).

So far, we're on track for spending around $600 this month for a family of 4. It's not all organic, but that is my preference.

Just curious...anybody keep track of how much they spend a month on groceries? For how many people? I'm not sure if $600/month for 4 people is insanely expensive, average, or below average.

Let's compare...let me know what you think!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Cosmetics Review: Alba Lip Gloss

As promised per my previous Twitter tweet: A cosmetics review (Guys, you can tune out now...)

Alba Coconut Cream Clear Lip Gloss: Recently I was looking for a lip gloss that was non-petroleum based. While grocery shopping at the Co-Op, I found myself wandering down the cosmetics aisle - a usual occurence.

I picked up a lipgloss that was close to $7.00. I don't know what you're thinking, but I'm thinking that is way too expensive. But a girl needs her lip gloss, so I tossed it in the cart. I continued to wander and I found it - next to the lesser expensive lip balms was Alba Coconut Cream Clear Lip Gloss.

I love coconut - check. It has no petroleum - check. 70% certified organic ingredients - check. $3.29 - done. In the cart it goes.

Of course I don't wait until I'm home to put it on - I apply my make-up in the parking lot. I tore off the minimal wrapping, turned the rear view mirror toward lips and on it went. Smooth, glossy, & tropical scented - a keeper.

It's not stinky like the Victoria's Secret lip gloss I once had. Long story short about the VS lipgloss: I put it on in the car and here's the conversation that occurred between me and my husband:

Me: (inaudibly putting on lip gloss)
Husband: What smells bad?
Me: I don't know dear, I don't smell anything.
Me: (1 hour later, again inaudibly putting on lip gloss)
Husband: Seriously, what is that stink?
Me: Um...it's my Victoria's Secret lip gloss that I'll never wear again.

As of now, no observations from husband about the scent of my Alba lip gloss. So far, so good.

If you're really into it, buy a 4 pack of Alba lip gloss from Amazon.com for $15.31 (that's $3.83 a tube). Let me know if you decide to give this product a try...I'd like to know what you think!

P.S. This is my own little independent review. I'm too small-time to get paid by anybody to review their products.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

CSA Goods Arrive & a New Challenge

We got our first CSA delivery. We were told beforehand that it would be a light load. They were right, there's not much there (especially since we ordered a small box), but they started off right with some fine looking organic lettuces, spinach, asparagus, and green onions.


I'm proposing a new challenge to the family:
  • To eat everything we receive from the CSA and let no produce rot in the crisper.
  • To eat everything from our garden.
  • And if we can't eat it, either freeze it or give it to a friend, neighbor, or co-worker.

Let's call this Veggie Challenge: Summer '09.

I'll take a picture of everything that went into the garbage (or soon-to-order compost bin) so I can publicly embarrass myself. I've found that shame can be a great motivator.

An immediate challenge I see: it will be difficult to get the kids to eat lettuce.

In closing, I'd like to bid an fond adieu to our Weekly Bean Challenge. I'm sad to see it go, but I've lost steam in the bean department. Perhaps I'll pick it up
again with the same fervor I've had in the past.

So long bean challenge...I'll miss you. I can only speak for myself.