Sunday, August 23, 2009

Random Updates Ahead!

I need to catch up - random updates ahead! Here are some things I've been doing lately and what's caught my eye.

Consignment Deals
Here's the thing about consignment shopping - you can go in looking for one thing, and walk out with something completely different. One must keep an open mind! This weekend I was looking for shoes. I couldn't find a pair I liked but wound up with some great deals:
  • Esprit Fall jacket
  • Banana Republic pants - tags still on
  • Reebok hoodie
  • Old Navy corduroys
Total : $55 (I also had a 20% off coupon). The Banana Republic pants alone would have been $55 retail. Seriously ladies (and gents) - give consignment shopping a try. Especially when you aren't looking for something super specific, but need to satisfy that "I need something new in my wardrobe" urge!

Garden Updates
We've been harvesting cucumbers, green beans, and cherry tomatoes often. I also picked a sprig of rosemary. We don't have a lot of rosemary this year - but I cherish what I have because I have so little of it this year. Our first Roma tomato was ready today...sort of. A little green, but I was impatient since I knew we were going to have the following this evening:

Summer Linguini with Fresh Tomatoes and Herbs
  • Boil linguini in salted water - set aside

    In a saucepan:
  • Some butter AND good quality olive oil together - A GOOD amount of olive oil since this will be the pasta topping

    For infusing the butter/olive oil sauce:
  • Add a sprig of rosmary - no need to chop up, just cut into 2 or 3 pieces to spread it around in the sauce pan
  • Add 1 clove of garlic - sliced once down the middle
  • Add some fresh chopped parsley
  • Melt the butter/olive oil together with other ingredients on low heat very slowly - you don't want to burn it.
  • Add sliced tomatoes and warm these up for a while. Stir occasionally until the tomatoes are warmed up and soften to your liking.

  • Top your pasta with the butter/olive oil sauce with tomatoes & parsley. Enjoy the garlic and rosemary on top of your pasta too if you wish.

  • This dish is easy to supplement - it's good with kidney beans, left over chicken, seafood, parmesan...etc. etc.
Time Magazine Article - Cheap Food
The subject of food is a very interesting one to me. Growing it, gathering it, production, cost, cooking, ingredients in processed foods, organics - it's endlessly fascinating to me. Yes - I am taking a moment to embrace this foodie-geeky side of me!

Here's an interesting recent article at Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food. It's a good introduction to how the cost of food for Americans is at a historic low, but the cost in other ways (to our health and our country's farmland) is high.

And if you enjoy food voyeurism like I do, you'll like this slide show also from What the Word Eats.

Grocery bill in Germany: $500 a week a for a family of 4! And I've been concerned about our more than $700/month grocery bill.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Veggie Challenge Summer '09 - Weeks 5 & 6 & Grocery Budget

Here are the results from our veggie challenge these past few weeks:

Week 5: Yum

Week 6: more cucumbers! We are drowning in them due to growth spurt in garden!

Week 3 & 4's throw aways - I really cannot stand green beans when they have any hint of brown spots. Or kohlrabi with brown spots. I know...picky-picky.

Lesson learned - it just means I need to eat them sooner. Or freeze the green beans (I think you need to blanche them first? Share your tips!)

Seemingly non-salvageable greens...tsk tsk.

In July, our grocery spending was down from last month: $733.23. (Compared to June's we spent $774.22 on groceries.)

Here's how July 2009 it broke down:
  • 12 grocery transactions (1 more than the month before!)
  • $333.69 at Super Target (we live really close to one)
  • $0 at our Co-op (boo...shame on me)
  • $3.55 at a local grocery store
  • $42.72 for the organic vegetable CSA delivery
  • $83.25 at the fancy expensive grocery store (for son's birthday party food)
  • $118.84 at Trader Joe's
  • $151.18 at Whole Foods
Could it be that we spent less this month because we had no co-op transactions this month? Or we ate less? Or ate more of what we had in our pantry? Or perhaps our pantry was fully stocked in July? Or because we're eating out of our garden now?

Perhaps all of the above?

I'm not sure, but I'll continue to keep an eye on things and report the findings!

Monday, August 3, 2009

An Ode to Summer

An ode to summer within bullet point format. Summer is beautiful in many ways and I appreciate it so. A few reasons why:
  • Fresh vegetables & berries are plentiful. So far we've harvested several tomatoes and cucumbers plus raspberries.
  • We can play outside without being cold (at least on most days)
  • Summer is a time of reunions. The other day our family took a trip out of town to enjoy a Water Park. And what did we happen to see but an old friend that we haven't see for quite some time...running down a country road. We called later to find out that he was in town and stopped by for one of his famous cook-out feasts.
Here's to summer and running down country roads!

Sprout MN!

Have you checked out Sprout MN yet? Check out merchants, print coupons and find special promotions and do some social networking by writing reviews & posting your green ideas.

I'm interested in seeing how this new site grows!