Recent Triumphs

So, obviously these damn blogs make it difficult to really throw yourself out there because you don’t have a starting point.  Also, things tend to sound way more clever in your head than when you actually write them down.  So, where to start?

This project all started a few weeks ago while running with my best friend, Zach.  He had recently gone on a trip to Costa Rica and was sharing with me how the people there don’t have much, but don’t care either.  I just thought that concept was damn cool.  Here I am, worrying all the time about how much money I have and trying to buy tomato sauce for $0.48 every week just so I can save some pennies here or there.  I told Zach that what I *wish* I could do with my life is just spend my money living in the best way I possibly can and being happy, yet not worry about the effects on my wallet.  Well, I thought, why not?  The world is going to end in 2012 anyway, right?  I might as well live it up now.  Thus I chose to try my little experiment.  I will eat nothing but organic or locally grown food, preferably that which can be bought at the co-op I am a member of here in town.

I think it’s going to be hard and I think I’m going to splurge a lot less, but I think it’s going to make me a happier person.  One positive benefit I’ve seen already is that I get to be creative.  I am a graduate student right now and my life is consumed with chemistry.  I spend 10-14 hours a day sitting in the chem building.  When I go home for the night, I like to just have me time.  My “me time” typically consists of going for a run and cooking.  One of my strategies for organic shopping is to buy ONLY what’s on sale.  This is the part I absolutely love.  I end up buying random stuff and then dinner becomes an episode of Chopped.  The other day, for $30, my bounty was the following:

1 gallon milk
1 large container of vanilla yogurt
1 small container of plain yogurt
2 avocados
1 loaf of honey wheat bread
1 5-lb bag of Russet potatos
1 pound of barley
1 5-lb bag of whole wheat flour
1 bulb of garlic
2 cans of whole tomatos
1 container of heavy whipping cream

I was pretty happy with all that.  You may be asking, now, well what the hell do you make with that?  It doesn’t seem like there is much to make a meal, huh?

Well…I have made some amazing meals as of late.  Here is what has been of my recent purchases:

1 gallon milk

– 3/4 of this went towards making cheese for a pizza (with some left over) (more to come on that!)
-1/4 went towards making yogurt (ditto on the above statement)

1 large container vanilla yogurt

-so far I’ve been mixing this with bananas, honey, and some almond butter I just made — delicious!!

1 small container plain yogurt

-used as a culturing agent for creme fraiche (used it in spaghetti sauce and drizzled on pancakes) (more to come)
-used as a culturing agent for the yogurt

2 avocados

-yet to do anything 😦

1 loaf of honey wheat bread

-in the mornings I have been toasting this, spreading it with almond butter, and drizzling with  honey….yum!

Russet potatos

I have been chopping up potatoes to use in soups, stews, and the barley I made the other day (seems like I will be sharing a lot of recipes 🙂 )

Barley

my new favorite item!  I have been cooking barley in my left over whey from the cheese and adding things such as potatos, squash, split peas, garlic, etc.  I feel like the combinations with barley are endless!  You can eat it cold or hot, and it’s perfect to pack in my lunch to keep me full throughout the day.  Most recently I used it as a side for a pork chop I made.

Whole wheat flour

made a whole wheat pizza dough

-have been making a sour dough bread starter

Bulb of garlic

-so far this has been used in sauce, barley, pork

2 cans of tomatos

-one can went into soup

-one can went into a wonderful tomato sauce I made for my spaghetti

heavy whipping cream

made creme fraiche

So, dear reader, (I’ve always wanted to say that), I hope this imparts one thing: you don’t have to spend a lot of money at the grocery store to eat organic.  I bought all this on Monday, January 16th.  I’m pretty proud of my $30 grocery bill and all the awesome meals I have made from them.  As promised, more to come on the recipes.

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