Lost? Use your Library.
I have cried over my grocery budget. Yes, cried. My love of sustainability and my love of Jesse (to whom budgeting is very important) are unsurpassed, and so when they came into conflict I was torn. I was also very, very hungry. When I first began attempting a grocery budget and an all organic/local food list, I struggled.
This isn’t unusual. When you switch over, it is a complete mind change. Non organic buyers wonder how they can buy what they usually do organically for a reasonable price. High end organic buyers wonder how they can give up their goat cheese, quinoa pasta, and strawberries. The fact of the matter is, you can buy nothing like what you were used to buying. You will need a completely new arsenal of recipes and tools, including tips and tricks about food storage, putting aside time for baking, and learning where and when to go shopping. Where do you find this arsenal?
Originally, I turned to online recipes. Fail. Very little was organic oriented, and very little was for someone on an athlete’s diet. Most of the recipes too were super complicated, involving loads of ingredients. Yes, a recipe with 15 spices taste better than one with 5, but who wants to buy and measure 15 spices? One blog I found cheered the fact that between the author and her husband, they only spent $150 on groceries a week.
I admit to despairing a little bit. Then, I ventured into the cookbook section of the library on a fantasy book run.
Oh my God.
Truly, there are books out there (for free!!!) with all the guidance you need to get started buying organically and locally on a budget. They come complete with a list of cooking tools/appliances, shopping tips and tricks, and (of course) recipes. It was from a library book that I learned about making my own ricotta and my own pasta. A library book motivated me to start my own spice garden, and has given me tons of ideas for homemade Christmas presents like homemade soap, coffee liqueur, and tote bags. The coolest thing about it is seeing the evidence that out there somewhere, is a person (maybe even a family) making the dream work. They are buying organically and locally, saving money, and eating tons of delicious food. This is not a pipe dream folks. It is doable. It is real. And if we all do it together, we can help save the planet.
I am starting a resources page, so that you can see the books I have found the most helpful, and check them out for yourself. My first two listings are going to be
This book is the bomb. This woman shops for two (with meat you doubters!) at whole paycheck… cough cough, I mean Whole Foods, and spends $60/week for two. That is an all organic/local diet for $30 a week (I bet you spend more than that!!!), and she explains all how she does it from the ground up. My original inspiration for homemade pasta.
This book is my latest obsession, and my inspiration for homemade ricotta. I love her lists of recommended kitchen equipment, like a tortilla press and pasta roller. This book is more about going back to the basics for basics sake, not budget, but you save a lot by cooking from scratch. There is an amazing recipe in here for yellow cake and pizza crust.
Did I mention that by going to your public library, you are also supporting an amazing public institution? Libraries are amazing.
Something to check out for you adventurous folks. If you really learn to love libraries, have you ever checked out library porn? (No naked people, I swear…)
This Week in Updates: Friends, Co-Op working, and Jesse catch up
So first and foremost, since I posted before this actual occurrence, Jesse and I stayed in for valentine’s day in order to cook together. We managed to pass the entire day happily in sweats. We made a po-boy themed meal, with fried portabella for me and steak for Jesse, with a smokey paprika cabbage slaw (with homemade mayo) and as always with Jesse… lots of other stuff. When it comes to food and my man, more is always better.
Next, I completed my co-op workers training! I start work tomorrow, to get my hours in for Feb. If I get 6 in, I get 20% off all my purchases in March. Can you say holla?! Also, they have a community outreach program based on teaching people to cook with low budgets. I volunteered for that. I am SO EXCITED. I love food, and I love talking about how everyone can cook organically. Now I get to do it AND GET 20% off all my groceries!!!!
Grocery shopping went well. I got enough supplies for some thai ravioli, as I’m calling it. Triangle ravioli filled with homemade ricotta, spring onions, and cilantro, to go with a spicy pad thai sauce. I also have all the ingredients for paleo gnocchi with tomatoes and garlic. However, the spicy pad thai took some time. We had some for our friend get together tonight with peanut sauce provided by Sally. The results tasted great, but looked funny since the peanut sauce started to crystallize. Perhaps tomorrow it will look nicer with a non pad thai sauce. We’ll see then how I’m feeling about the gnocchi. After all, I work at the co-op tomorrow.
The Recipe: Spring Scallion Ricotta Omelet
Okay, so you may not know this, but scallions (also called green onions) are the soul mate of eggs. Whenever you have had a really good quiche, there was probably this indescribable delicious flavor with the eggs, that you thought maybe was just a by product of the buttery quiche dough. Nope, those are the green onions! Mixed with a little homemade ricotta and some cilantro, and you got a whole lot of deliciousness in every bite.
1/2 spring onion, chopped
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
cilantro to taste (optional)
1 tbsp olive oil (for cooking)
Heat the olive oil in a pan while you chop up what you need to chop up. Beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water. Mix the eggs and the fresh spices and ricotta together. When the oil is hot, poor the mixture into the pan and keep on medium heat. Once it starts to solidify, flip one side over to create the omelet shape. Cook thoroughly until both sides are a crispy brown. Top with salt to taste. Enjoy!