The little Clay Pot

Lots of things can go in a little Clay Pot

Summer menus June 8, 2010

Summer is a hard menu time for me. Is it nice? Is it rainy? Did we decide at the last minute to invite company over? One better, did we get invited at the last minute to go someplace else?  Did I remember to order from the bounty?  Can’t we just eat s’mores for dinner?

Not to mention, I want to use every available minute to be outside or working on inside projects while I am not in school…I do not want to be in the kitchen any more than absolutely necessary! Feeding my family seems more a struggle, let alone feeding them healthy, local or organic!  And what ever happened to the budget!?

So you may notice a very picnic-y menu.  I intend to use the grill (or as my mother called it the “outdoor kitchen”) I got for my husband for his birthday every day it is not a torrential down pour…The newest menu posted for the week of 6.14.10–follows the old format…but I am thinking that I will have to come up with a more flexible template and still…my goal is to get a format that allows for cost analysis and user friendly recipes…I am working on it…promises, promises.

My secondary goal for the summer is to be diligent to post 2 posts a week…One on Monday with the menu that is food/grocery related and one later in the week that is a shameless rambling of the random thoughts that never cease to occupy my brain space.   As always your comments/questions/suggestions are always welcome.

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ACK! I missed my Bounty Order! March 31, 2010

Unfortunately yesterday I was focused on other tasks that had to be done, and I forgot about placing my bounty order until after it was to late! I have not missed a bounty order in a month or two, so I am very disappointed.  I am also into “CRunCH” time with my school work, so I need to be organized over the next couple of weeks to make sure that I am not making these silly time/money wasting mistakes!

The first step is going to be a thorough inventory of the kitchen.  Please hold, this may take a few moments, and I will probably get detoured by the needs of a human under 4ft tall. …………….

OK, now that is done, to create a grocery list and a menu.  I have decided that I am going to try to get through to next Thursday with the bare necessities and a few pantry items.  I need to restock on oatmeal (if anyone knows of a place to purchase non-plastic large food containers I would love to know!) and I will need milk, and a few produce items as well as a few things for dinner next week.  I am going to try to get the milk from a local farmer, and the oats and most everything else I will get from Troyer’s.   The menu for next week is very budget friendly, and so I should be able to maintain my $100.00 mark.

I am still trying to figure out the best way to post a grocery list or a break down of what I have purchased–that is not labor intensive.  I have considered scanning my notebook that I take with me and use to keep track of prices, and I think I will try to play with that this week.  I am also looking at some other blog themes that may allow me to organize a bit differently.

Also please take the time to read Mama Beth’s comment on the Breakfast on a Budget post…she is the amazing woman who shared the oatmeal/granola recipe and I greatly respect her experience, expertise and energy!

 

Holidays–local style. March 18, 2010

Chag Pesach Sameach

Our family loves Passover.  It is a time for us to do something special, festive and meaningful.   I enjoy preparing the meal because it is foods that we do not eat all the time…and we all enjoy eating it!

This year I purchased my lamb, carrots, eggs, and apples, via CNY Bounty.  It will be the first lamb we have gotten from a local source, we are very excited.  The honey is local, and the walnuts are from Troyer’s Amish store up the road from me.  I will have to buy my parsley, matzoh and parsnips from a chain grocer, but I hope to buy my grape juice from  Nelson Farms.  I could dig up my own horseradish…but I may opt for the store bought version…It depends on if I get to be out side with a shovel on on of these 50 degree days coming up!

The cost breaks down as follows

  • Lamb chops- $22.75
  • 4 lbs of carrots (they will not all be used for this meal of course) $5.85
  • 1 doz eggs- $3.25
  • Apples- $5.53
  • Honey- In the Pantry
  • Walnuts- In the pantry
  • The rest is yet to be determined…but shouldn’t be bad.

So the whole meal will be about $50.00.  Not to bad for a holiday meal.

In other news we are still adjusting to our new schedule and I am coming into the “busy” time for school, papers to write, meetings to attend, tests to take etc.  And my Husband started his on-line classes. So My menu planning is going to be essential in keeping things under control…but…since when have our lives been under control?  *Grin*

“He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.  He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.  And they made His grave with the wicked– But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor [was any] deceit in His mouth.  Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put [Him] to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see [His] seed, He shall prolong [His] days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.”

Isaiah 53:7-10

 

A Day Late and a Dollar Short. March 13, 2010

We have already addressed that sometimes lifestyle, or LIFE in general keeps us from leading a well planned, budgeted existence, so we won’t go over that again…but let’s take note that sometimes when we run into a glitch it takes a while to recoup and heaven forbid that we run into two glitches in a row!

This week my husbands work schedule got changed…so my “routine” of shopping on Thursday or Friday will now have to adjust to shopping on Monday or Tuesday.  Thank you for being patient while we adjust.  So in lieu of some thoughtful banter I am posting my CNY Bounty order that was delivered 3/11/10 and breaking down how I will use it.  Hope to be back in the groove on Monday with some ideas for breakfast and a better format for posting exactly what is being purchased and used each week!

Product

Producer

Price

Use

Milk – Whole – 1 Gal

Evan’s Farmhouse Creamery

$6.31

Mostly for Drinking.  We normally go through about 3 gallons a week.

Yogurt – Orange – Quart

Evan’s Farmhouse Creamery

$4.06

For 1 lunch (with apples and bread) and 1 breakfast (with granola and fruit)

1/2 and 1/2 – 1 qt

Queensboro Farm Products

$1.55

For the husbands coffee

Apples – Empire

Split Rail Apple Farm

$5.53

For lunch.  We normally do slices to make them stretch.

Eggs

Tea Party Acres

$2.93

For cooking, and hard boiled for lunch.

Salad – Bouquet

Finger Lakes Fresh

$2.00

For..salad.

Utility Carrots – 4lb

Stick & Stone Farm

$5.85

These are lovely!  Used in cooking, salad, and as a raw veg.

Breakfast Sausage – bulk

Drover Hill Farm

$6.49

(this was actually out, so I won’t be using it.)

Hot Dogs – All Pork

Ingallside Meadows Farm

$7.80

These are for Monday nights dinner.

Lard – rendered

Ingallside Meadows Farm

$4.52

I will use this for cooking, like Crisco.  But I am thinking I will try to get some more to make soap.

Arm Roast – Large

Mizrahi Manor

$11.41

This will be served on St. Patrick’s day!   See the menu for 3.15.10

Product

Producer

Price

Use

Milk – Whole – 1 Gal

Evan’s Farmhouse Creamery

$6.31

Yogurt – Orange – Quart

Evan’s Farmhouse Creamery

$4.06

1/2 and 1/2 – 1 qt

Queensboro Farm Products

$1.55

Apples – Empire

Split Rail Apple Farm

$5.53

Eggs

Tea Party Acres

$2.93

Salad – Bouquet

Finger Lakes Fresh

$2.00

Utility Carrots – 4lb

Stick & Stone Farm

$5.85

Breakfast Sausage – bulk

Drover Hill Farm

$6.49

Hot Dogs – All Pork

Ingallside Meadows Farm

$7.80

Lard – rendered

Ingallside Meadows Farm

$4.52

Arm Roast – Large

Mizrahi Manor

$11.41

 

My Apologies. March 8, 2010

  • My Apologies, but the menu will not be published until Tuesday 3/9/10.  On the up side please use this opportunity to post a recipe or an ingredient and I will see what I can do to work it into the menu.
  • ALSO, I have been slaking on keeping up with the cost analysis portion of this endeavor…That should get back on track this week as I figure out more about the formatting on here etc.
  • Finally, any feed back/suggestion is always welcome.  So please do comment if you have an idea on a topic that would be beneficial.
 

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.”

 

A Perfect Example March 1, 2010

The verdict is in…I don’t have a total handle on all of this.  Despite my best laid plans, sometimes life just happens.

For the rest of this to make sense, you need a little bit of background:

  1. We live about an hour away from the nearest city, where we do our banking etc. so we try to make 1 trip a week.
  2. We only have 1 car, and quite often my husband needs to either fill the car with tools, or have the car during the day to run errands etc. for work–so normally, taking him to work and having the car for the day is not an option for me (and we have lived with 1 car for most of our married lives–we are pros at this!)
  3. Where our house sits we get a lot of snow, and then it drifts–right into our driveway.

Plan change #1

Life being what it is, I had planned on going to my few local grocers on Thursday afternoon, up to the city on Friday evening (banking, shopping, and worship at a friends house).  Thursday my husband’s work schedule got changed.  He had to go back to work that night, and then would have Friday off, and have to work again Friday night.  “No problem.” I said to myself,  “The CNY Bounty order came today, we can do all the errands Friday, skip going to the friends house…and life will go on.”

Plan change #2

And then the snow came.  Now, we live in Central New York, we are used to snow!  But this was a good storm and my husband’s boss called to tell him to stay home Thursday night, and just come in Friday.  “Hmm…” I thought, “we can go do worship, get to the bank, and maybe have time to get some groceries, I’ll have to try to get to the local stores on Saturday, life goes on.”

Plan change #3

Shoveling from the road

Aaand theeen the snow….was.  My husband started shoveling Friday morning with the intention of just getting out of the drive way to go to work.  By 8:00 am He knew he was going to be late.  By 10:00 he knew he wasn’t going to make it, and his boss told him to just come in Saturday.  “That’s okay.” I said out loud, “We can go do all the things that need to be done.  Still go to the friends for worship, and life is good.”

Plan change #4

My dear husband finally finished clearing the driveway around 1:00, and we all started getting ready to go…”Late start, we’ll have to skip the local stores.”  I realized with some dismay.  Then–the phone rang.  It was the director of my BS nursing program about an e-mail I had sent to her.  I, having been in a hurry, had misread a date and assumed that the conversation had to take place then, because of timing.   So we had our conversation while I stood in my bedroom trying to figure out what to wear, and my husband got the kids ready to go.   We finally made it out of the house by 2:00.  And by now, as I am sure you, my fellow Americans can relate, I felt like I had just done 300 loads of laundry, washed 30 children, tried on 20 different pairs of jeans, and saved a small country from utter doom.  I was in no mood to go shopping, If life was going to go on…it could just go on with out me.

Plan change #5, the conclusion

We did things in the order they made sense…and quickly ran out of time.  In order to make it to our friends house (something we had all been looking forward to) on time, we had to forgo getting groceries all together!  We ended up going to BJ’s Saturday evening (a 2nd trip to the city! and a $200 grocery bill) and to get there before they closed we fed the kids McDonald’s in the car!  OH, how I was angry that I have been working so hard on this venture, only to cave and buy purdue chicken and happy meals!   But here is the point:  Life does go on.

For so many of us…life goes on day by day and we are busy, doing all the things that we have to do and the things that keep us sane.  We have been afforded this busy lifestyle because we have been given wonderful items of convenience–cars, cell phones, boxed food, fast food….  Maybe it is not the food or the menu that needs so much attention as it is the lifestyle.   But whatever life we live, and whatever events cause us to stray from our path–like me and my quest to feed my family, reasonably local, healthy foods, on a budget–we need to remember that Life goes on…a day passes and it is behind us, we can learn from it or we can repeat it.