Thursday, June 25, 2009

Assessing my efforts

I didn't intend this to be my food blog, more of an opportunity for me to openly explore living a different lifestyle. If you read my family blog you know that my dad died of stomach cancer a year and a half ago. Watching him go through his illness really impacted me because it was my wake up call. I'm overweight myself, but more importantly we're raising four young women. Over the last two years I am working hard to slowly phase out as much processed food as I can. I actually think I'm at the point of having to go hard core because we're really only down to a few things..... now I say that, but reality is that my husband came home with frozen pizza and corndogs for dinner tonight because I had one of our daughters at her OT session. Since dinner was his to do tonight he took a shortcut. He knows my desires to eat whole foods, or at least use original ingrediants. So, I guess as a family we're still working on this. Since I'm a teacher and home in the summer this is always a good time to tweak our habits.

So here's an assessment of my new habits:

1.) I am actually taking the shopping bags with me, not leaving them on the hook by the door, or in the car.

2.) I have consistantly bought fruits and veggies from the local farmer's market. I am learning to blanche and freeze veggies, and have quite the stock of corn and beans. Now, why do I think this is important? It goes way beyond eating locally for me, although that is important too. A conversation I had with a dear friend scared the crud out of me.... he works at a plant that irradiates food. Apparently most every food is zapped at some point in the process to kill bacteria/germs. I thought I wasn't really touched by it (except my meat that I don't have a local source for) because I buy organic, but he said that gets zapped too. I wonder how much radiation we can handle before we become affected.
3.) I am growing a small garden of veggies this summer, and enjoying my daily tomatoes at the moment, but losing the battle to rabbits when it comes to my pepper plants. Our pear trees will have a lot to offer in late August, but our peach tree was stripped by the deer because it is so small. Next year I will have to put a fence around it, and probably the lemon tree as well. I have an apple tree out front, but I don't know what kind it is, or how to use the fruit - it seems to be VERY sour to me, so I'm clueless on that front.
4.) I'm actually already making some presents for gift giving times this year, and I'm knitting and sewing - nothing major, just stuff for the girls.

5.) I'm paying double (okay, more) on car bills to get them paid off almost 2 years early, and then will start in on the credit card - also the orthodontist will be paid off early too. If one of us end up losing a job we have a lot of things we can cut out, but we aren't in that position at the moment, so I'm trying to cut as many extra monthly bills as possible.

6.) I'm about to get rid of all plastic in my kitchen. I've been buying glass bowls, and stoneware baking sheets. I don't know that whatever clay my stoneware is made from is any better, but I'm NOT using aluminum for anything anymore, and hope to end my dependence on plastic. The down side is that these things are very heavy for our daughter with only one "normal" arm to lift, but we'll figure something out.
7.) The kids are doing well with less TV. The rule is that they can't watch until after 6:30. I do find them watching it in the morning if they get up before me, but they'll easily turn it off and find something else to do. This one will definitely continue into the school year.

Overall not bad.... I'll post soon on my new goals to meet, and a "to do" list.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tuesdays and Thursdays

That's me in the capris on the right.
On Tuesdays the local farmer's market is less than a mile from my house. I went there today and was surprised at how large it is getting. It is still hit or miss as to whether people actually grow their own veggies, or bring them from the grocery store (last time I looked Chiquita bananas weren't grown in SC, and definitely don't come off a plant with a sticker on it). After tending my own garden for over a year now I tend to know what's in season, so I can weed out the fake vendors pretty quick.

On Thursdays it is in the neighborhood where our daughter (blog name Blondie) gets her OT and PT. So while she exercises I shop. Last Thursday my mom was with me because I wasn't able to drive due to the medication I was taking, so she captured these pictures of my bean man. I love him.... no doubt about it. I met him a couple weeks ago when he had a little folding table. He pulled out pictures of his large garden, and told me how he kept a shotgun on his back porch 'cause his brother-in-law, the preacher, keeps helping himself to his garden. "Ya never can tell with preachers, don't ya know." I really threw him for a loop when I bought all of his beans. His question to me was, "Well, now what am I gonna sell...." On this day I walked up and he started giving me good natured grief about buying all of his beans the previous week so he had stocked up for me..... that was fine.... I bought those too - I left some for the couple in line after me, but only enough for their dinner. They asked what I was going to do with all 12 pounds and I explained how I'm freezing them for fall and winter when I can't get local produce. They didn't realize people still did that.
Today I went out to the one by my house, and bought from my cucumber guy (mine will be ready in a week, so I won't have to buy his anymore - he's in the picture above) who had a pick-up truck and a trailer full of corn (so my cucumber guy has now turned into my corn guy). I also blanche and freeze corn too, so I"m going to have to make sure anything unneccessary is out of my extra freezer (or maybe buy yet another one). So tonight I'll blanche and freeze corn, and on Thursday when Blondie has therapy again, I'll stock up on corn some more. My bean guy won't be there because his "granddaughter was coming to carry him down to Disneyworld this week." Hope he's back next week my supply might be dwindling at that point.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Starting to harvest more....

Onions are a new one for me to grow this year, although I didn't start them from seed. From what I read I am supposed to pick them when the tops have flopped over and are brown. So I've started picking the ones that are ready, although small they are tasty.

The grape tomatoes are going crazy right now, and I can count on new ones for dinner each night. The larger tomatoes are still very green, but getting bigger every day. I do have a handful of beans most nights too, but I'm buying larger amounts from the farmer's market of both beans and corn to blanche for later in the year.

I was also thoroughly inspired by when she takes pictures of her absolutely spotless corners. Alas, I cannot keep my house spotless, although one day I'm sure it will happen. For now I"m content with a clean linen closet and folded towels. Not a big cleaning, but I did find 5 sets of queen sized sheets and 0 queen sized beds in the house. So they are going to my brother, and whatever is left over goes to the family lake house. I'll probably purge bathroom cupboards next, but I won't post pictures of that either. I'll just keep scooting over to beauty that moves for my peace....

On the positive front... the kids are doing fine without tv, and we're finding that after the 6:30 p.m. time they may watch a movie, but chances are they are still running around hanging out together (or finding turtles to harass). My goal this summer is to also get them picking up after themselves (HA), and doing some review work with each of them to keep them ready for school. It's only been a week though, so I have a ways to go to get our new habits in place.