The little Clay Pot

Lots of things can go in a little Clay Pot

Saving time with Bounty April 26, 2010

Filed under: Frugal Living,Health,Uncategorized — littleclaypot @ 3:57 am

First off, I am looking forward to the end of school, and getting into the full swing of summer and keeping on with my efforts to feed the family reasonably local, & reasonably healthy on a budget of $100.00 per week.

This is the bill for the bounty order that will be delivered on Thursday.  I Finally broke down and ordered some extras (for us).  Bagels, Tarrells and some beef snack sticks.  One of the biggest complaints (and truly, there haven’t been many) has been the lack of  “easy food” -things like boxed cereal, pretzels and chips.  I told myself that I would alleviate this complaint by making home made snacks.  But…I have yet to work that into the schedule.  So, just a few more weeks of classes, and for now, if some bagels and beef sticks will buy me a few more moments of brain time…I am aalllllll for it.

Product Producer Price Items Subtotal
Bagels – Plain Amazing Grains $4.29 1 $4.29
Taralles – Garlic Amazing Grains $3.32 1 $3.32
Milk – Whole – 1 Gal Evan’s Farmhouse Creamery $6.31 3 $18.92
Yogurt – Blackberry – Quart Evan’s Farmhouse Creamery $4.06 1 $4.06
1/2 and 1/2 – 1 qt Queensboro Farm Products $1.55 1 $1.55
Jerusalem Artichoke – lb Gardners Gladiolus $3.90 1 $3.90
Salad – Bouquet Finger Lakes Fresh $2.00 1 $2.00
Gourmet Medley sprout mix Mizrahi Manor $3.04 1 $3.04
Steak Prime Rib – Dexter Mizrahi Manor $11.21 2 $22.43
Snack Sticks – Beef Drover Hill Farm $5.77 1 $5.77
Pasta – Linguini The Pasta Shoppe $2.60 1 $2.60

Breakfast on a Budget. March 26, 2010

Personally, I am not a big breakfast person…unless it is a BIG breakfast: pancakes, eggs, bacon, oranges, fried potatoes, cinnamon rolls, coffee, Juice.  But let’s face it–the farm family breakfast is just not realistic on a daily basis–at least not in my house!  I think most Americans today have cold cereal, milk, perhaps a fruit, some juice and maybe some toast.  But I know that for us, for a looooong time the routine was–cold cereal–milk–and juice.   Except Saturday, Saturday is pancakes and I think my children would revolt if I tried to pull anything over on them in that department.  I missed a Saturday a few weeks ago and promised to make them on Sunday…there was no backing out on Sunday…they were ready to make a picket line in front of the bathroom if I started to recant!

So as I started this venture I immediately started noticing how much was being spent on cereal.  Even at Aldis a box of “Crisp Rice” is approx $1.49.  Even in Walmart you can expect to pay any where from $1.60- $3.00 (and I think I am being conservative here) for boxed cereal depending on the brand.  Then feed four children an average of 3/4-1 Cup of cereal each day…(Not to mention my husbands, “I’m ready to go to bed–it is time for a bowl of cereal.” habit.) I have to buy at least 2 boxes each week.  So even if it is Crisp Rice from Aldi’s (which is a smaller box and normally I would buy 3 boxes for a week) – that is $4.50 for breakfast not including a fruit or the milk.

Enter the Mighty OAT.  Am I dating myself if I refer to Wilford Brimley telling us all that eating oatmeal is “The right thing to do”?  Oatmeal is actually a very good breakfast food.  It is filling, but not fattening, it is warm or cold, and it is good for our cholesterol.  Amazingly it is also very cost effective.  I can buy rolled oats at my local Amish store for $.70/lb.  A 6.55 lb bag costs $4.59.  Now I have not figured out mow many cups are in 6.55 lbs of oat meal, but I only have to by a bag every few weeks. So figure it is about $1.50 a week?  OR I can buy STEEL CUT OATS (or Oat Grout) (the unrolled oat, some people say it is more filling because it is not processed) for $.62/lb.

My magic numbers for rolled oats are 2 to 4.  Boil 4 cups water, add 2 cups oats.  This is the perfect amount for my 4 kids (for now.)  I am preferring the oat grout right now for 2 reasons:

  1. The magic numbers are 1 to 4.
  2. I can put it  in the crock over night and it is ready in the morning, with minimal clean up!  The recipe can be found here. If my husband want’s to eat some before he goes to work, this is good for that too, because I don’t have to get up at 3am to make him oatmeal before he goes!  I just change the 1 cup oats to 4 cups of water to 1 1/4 cups oats to 5 cups of water.

Now, my kids do get a little tired of oatmeal with butter and brown sugar. So we started experimenting.  We add Fruit (fresh or frozen), nuts and coconut, chocolate chips, maple syrup.  Anything really.  A favorite treat is to mix hot cocoa into it!  But if we really need something different we use this method suggested by a reader.  This is great as a “cold cereal” or on top of yogurt or even plain.  And there is no limit to what you can add  nuts, fruit…hmmm probably even some hot cocoa (will have to experiment with that!)

I do not buy much juice, a lot of cost for not a great nutrition (depending on the variety of course).  So we drink tea or milk or water and have an orange or mandarin with breakfast to get in that Vit. C.  These typically are not too expensive at Aldi’s and a large orange can be split between 2 kids.   I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but based on the USDA guidelines Children aged 2-8 only need 1- 1 1/2 cup of fruit per day.   And when you look at what counts as 1 cup, you don’t need to eat your whole serving at once.  A half an orange at breakfast, and 1/2 cup of pears or apple at lunch…and *POOF* you’ve done it!  Throw some plums or raisins in for a snack and now you have exceeded the need and gotten most of the recommended vitamins!   Apart of the $$ problem is that we just plain eat too much and waste too much.  When we put in perspective what our bodies really need to be healthy…suddenly we are able to spend a lot less money.

Happy eating!


And yet, another perfect example. March 7, 2010

Filed under: Health — littleclaypot @ 9:50 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

If only this was a smell-a-puter.  Then I could give you the rather unpleasant, but probably considered, option of smelling the chicken that came out of my fridge today.  That’s right, THE chicken.  You know–the stuff I bought last week at BJ’s due to the chaos of our schedule.  The nearly 10 lbs of chicken thighs that said “SELL BY 3/8/10.”  The same chicken that was packaged in individual plastic pouches and then in a larger plastic wrapper to eliminate styrofoam and save the environment.   Yeah, that’s the stuff.

Well, when I opened it today, 3/7/10…it seriously polluted my environment!  I didn’t take the time (or the effort that it would have commanded to control my gag reflex) to open each individual pouch so see if there was any that was salvageable…the whole nearly 10 lbs went straight into a garbage bag and into a garbage bin.  Yet another perfect example of food waste.

Now I know that for the most part our food systems are safe.  Think of all of the food that is eaten each day with no ill consequences–But there have been those times when there was a recognized large scale issue with our food (spinach or peanut butter anyone?).  There have been deaths.  Now I like the convenience of buying a bunch of chicken, and I like the price even more…but not enough to risk killing my dinner guests with the meat! So the ethical decision is to throw that convenience and $$ away.  This completes the perfect example of how our life impacts our food demands, that impacts how food is grown/packaged/shipped, in turn impacting what we purchase and serve to our loved ones…or toss in the garbage.  (The phrase running through my head all day: “There are starving children in the world!”) I am at least relieved to know I have a whole chicken from the CNY Bounty thawing in my fridge for this week.

The moral of this story?  “Tis better to have no meat at all than to spend your money on rancid chicken.”


You are what you eat… February 22, 2010

I am in the middle of a semester where I am working on a large project that has to do with the food we eat and our health.  As a RN I firmly believe that we are what we eat…or rather consume.

Consumption is the only word that really describes my feelings towards American Culture.  If you really stop and take a moment to think about it…What have you eaten today? How did you get to work?  What are you wearing?  How many lights are on in your house right now? How many major appliances?  What will you buy this week?  Look at the packaging of something you buy regularly…what happens to it when it you are done with it?  Even our higher-end items are touted as disposable…I recently had a conversation with a Dell employee about my Dell all in one printer…that we got in the spring of 2007.  Three years ago.  I was told that I really needed to consider a new printer because the average life of a printer is only 2 years!  Well then for crying out loud the one I have is like an ancient artifact!  And we havn’t even started to think about the extra’s–we really have only addressed aspects of daily living.  Consumption is an unavoidable fact…but what are the consequences?

The United States is in a crisis of Health…We eat too much of the wrong foods and we don’t exercise enough…our livers, pancreas’, hearts, and circulatory systems are forced into failure by our own habits…cirrhosis, diabetes, heat attacks, and strokes.  We demand the products and the ease of living that causes toxins to be dumped into our back yards that cause cancer and birth defects.  More and more we are finding that the things that were invented to make out lives easier are making our lives sicker.  And we all want to be healthy…so we go to the doctor or to the hospital and demand treatment…for a problem that we created…and by demanding that treatment we cause more problems…there are not enough nurses, the supplies all have to be made in a plant, shipped, wrapped in something disposable…even in our poor health we demand and consume.

The first place the Bible (KJV) uses the word Consume is in Genesis 41:30 “And there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land.”  Now this is talking about a specific event…but isn’t it too poetically ironic that a Famine shall consume anything?  In my little understanding of agriculture a famine can be caused by natural disasters or my the mistakes of man.  Public education taught me that the dust bowl was the result of over use of the land, rendering it useless.  So if poor decisions and overuse (consumption again) lead to famine…what kind of a metaphorical/literal famine are we headed for!? And how do our consumptions stand posed…just waiting to consume us?

This little Clay Pot doesn’t have an answer for all the questions…but I do know that I want to stop consuming sooooo much.  I want to feed my family foods that fill their bellies and help them to be healthy…not with foods that wear out their body systems and pollute the earth that they play on.  I want to help others question why we demand the things we demand…and is it good for us?  I don’t want to tell anybody what to do, or that my way is the right way…but let’s all start asking the questions “Do I really need this,  and what does it really do for me?”