Wednesday, October 28, 2009
The Cat Peed on My Carrots (A Good Excuse To Eat Chocolate)
Cat urine...... That's what drove me to blogging this afternoon. After a taxing morning of getting up early, shooting a 3x3 buck, canning peach apple sauce, helping to process my daughters buck and trying repeatedly to explain the difference between a subject and a predicate to Art Dog, I was ready to relax. That's when I found cat urine on my lovely garden carrots. Well, they really weren't from my garden. As you know, I am garden challenged. No, they were a gift from a friend. There were just a few left along with one beet from outer space. I had been hording them and bringing out just a few each day or two. Wouldn't you know it, when I went to retrieve some today, they sported that distinct ammonia cat smell?! With that loss, I decided to make some chocolate pudding with Super Catman.
I also wanted to say a few words about being resourceful. If you're anything like me, you approach the grocery store with a sense of foreboding along with a little anticipation. You want to save money, but everything healthy seems out of your reach. So you settle with bringing ramen noodles to work...again. This is not the way to sow into your health. Neither is buying a cheap -n- greasy burger in place of a nice salad. There are ways to being healthy, if you choose to do so. Money (or lack thereof) is really not an excuse. Believe me, I've lived on extremely limited budgets many times. Where there is a will, there is a way.
Here are some examples :
Venison : Its a very healthy, chemical free, lean and organic meat. I can hear it now "but I don't like venison". Well, I once didn't either. I did, however, discover that processing the meat ourselves made it much more edible (for real). When you are eating it yourself, you are picky about how you process it. I also add a little fresh garlic to each package frozen. I always know what's in the package - nothing but fresh well trimmed meat. Other lean meats we harvest include fish, grouse, bear and elk.
Berries : It took some work to go out in the forest and harvest huckleberries this past summer, but I'm glad they're in the freezer now. I spent an incredible amount of money last winter buying berries. We also traded labor for harvesting organic cherries. Its going to be nice not having to buy any frozen fruit this winter.
Sprouts : For pennies, you can sprout a healthy organic meal in your window. Yes, even the gardenly challenged can do this.
Making food from Scratch : I am domestically challenged, really. I didn't even know how to brown hamburger when I left home. Just recently, I learned how to make home made tortillas. Its incredibly easy. So is home made spaghetti sauce. I can't believe the money I used to spend on foods that I now make myself. When I make them, I know what is (or isn't) in them. It's safer, healthier and yes, cheaper.
Be an Opportunist: Sorry, I'm not saying "be a bum". I'm just saying watch for deals or opportunities to come. A month ago, somebody brought in all different colored peppers to the hospital nurses station. I had no idea what to do with them, but took some anyway. My friend later told me to freeze them whole. It was excess from a garden. Weeks later, somebody asked me if I wanted some tomatoes. I said "sure". I ended up with 2 peoples excess. All in all, it was three boxes full. Yesterday, I was terrified, but I tried making salsa with help from the kids. It turned out to be the best I've ever eaten (really). I didn't even follow a recipe. I just listened to advice from a couple of friends and used an online recipe for ingredient ideas and proportions. Turned out, those free peppers and tomatoes were just perfect for it.
Once you liberate yourself from normal grocery store shopping expectations, you will find a whole new world of eating cheaper and healthier than you ever thought possible. I think we can be our own worst enemy when it comes to shopping. We carry unrealistic expectations when it comes to spending money. We think it's our right to buy what we think we need. Rather than exploring new avenues, we stick to what's safe and familiar. The problem is, safe and familiar changed a long time ago. I wonder what kind of change YOU can make today :-) Maybe you can give me some new ideas to try :-)
Photos above include : The boys hunting camp (on top a mountain). See the difference between that and the forest behind my house where I got the deer this morning? Also "the urinator perpetrator" and some canning I have been doing.