Your Guide to Reading Between the Tines

Archive for the 'Budgeting' Category

Tangerine Spice Pancakes: Kitchen Odds and Ends At Work

This morning, the Unicyclist and I had an impromptu and very delicious breakfast of pancakes.  I started with the Honey-Wheat Germ Pancake recipe in the Recipes from the Moon cookbook (from the Horn of the Moon Cafe), but (as often happens when I wind up in the kitchen) that recipe was just a skeleton for the pancakes I actually made.  See, when it comes to me and recipes, I’m something of a “fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants” sort of personfolk.

I love recipes.  I love cookbooks.  I love reading them, looking at pictures, imagining delicious dinners to be.  However, I am both an incurable meddler and a thick-skulled pragmatist.  Specifically, whenever feasible, I believe in adapting recipes to what you have on hand rather than going shopping for missing ingredients.  This is exactly how I wound up with some golden, citrus-infused, wheat-germ-free pancakes this morning.  I still don’t know what the Honey-Wheat Germ pancakes from Horn of the Moon taste like, but I had some durn good breakfast.

I adapt for different reasons, but it’s mostly to use up what I have on hand.  The purpose of this post today is to help you figure out how that works, and how you might start using up odds and ends in your cooking.  Shall we dive in?

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Dark Days Challenge Recipe: Simple Ratatouille Over Spaghetti Squash

Last week, there was a moment.

The moment came some time after the third batch of homemade cream of mushroom soup, some time after I had a nice dusting of flour on my face and four pies sat cooling on the counter, just a minute or two before my second green bean casserole completely from scratch was popped in the oven.  The moment came after Thanksgiving trailed so closely on the heels of our early family Christmas, leaving no space to breathe.

It was the moment—just one moment—when I questioned the wisdom of investing so much time and effort into fancy holiday dishes that would almost certainly be devoured in a single sitting.  What was the point?

However, when your guests ask permission to lick out the green bean casserole dish and the insane amount of garlic potatoes you made are devoured almost the second you turn your back, when the table is surrounded by fat and happy tummies and family faces smiling contentedly…when all this is going on and you know you fed your guests real, healthy food, responsibly grown…well, things are pretty doggone good.

But I have to say, the Unicyclist and I are looking forward to keeping things simple around here for a while.  Today, for our second Dark Days Challenge recipe, we decided to hit the nearby Sunday farmers’ market and see what we could come up with that wouldn’t be overly fussy or fatty, seeing as how we recently consumed half our body weight in pie.  Here’s our haul:

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Healthy Produce on a Shoestring: When to Pay Extra

One of the ways to protect your health while working within a tight budget is to prioritize which items are most important to get organically or sustainably farmed.  The Environmental Working Group has identified 12 fruits and vegetables most contaminated with pesticides–these are the ones you don’t want to get in the store if you don’t know how they were grown.  Here’s an excerpt of the information on the EWG’s Dirty Dozen–just follow the link here to read the whole list.

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Vegetarianism 101: The Up Side for You

Looking at the details of the meat-packing industry, the importance of consuming meat from naturally raised, antibiotic-free animals with space to move around becomes obvious. However, raising animals this way means it takes longer to grow them to the desired size for slaughter and you need a lot more space for them to feed on grass. For that reason, buying organic, grass-fed beef or organically raised pork or poultry in the grocery store can be prohibitively expensive for people on a budget. Plus, the “organic” label is far from perfect where meats are concerned. After all, hopefully you’ve surmised by now that feeding a cow organic corn doesn’t improve its health much.

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