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.: Eating Organic on a Food Stamp Budget --> archive

Week 1 - Saturday - Food Factory

Whole Wheat Sesame WafflesBrunch this morning is Sesame Waffles with butter and a (warmed) ounce of maple syrup, the best grapefruit I've ever had, and an extra pot of coffee.

Before this weekend, the best grapefruit always came from my CSA; it was always better than anything I could pick up from the store. But the Rainbow is carrying Rio Grapefruit this week—the only kind they have—and it puts every other grapefruit in the shade. My husband, who grew up in Florida, agrees.

I've noticed a theme as I've been writing this week: the freezer. I seem to take or put something in the freezer for nearly every meal. I also make at home things other people would buy.

Yesterday, when I got home from the store, I put a quart of milk into the microwave for 10 minutes, let it cool, and then put all of it into my yogurt maker with a tablespoon of yogurt to make my own batch. I froze the rest in tablespoon portions, using an ice cube tray. There are 16 TB in a cup, but I used a generous heaping tablespoon, so I got 10. I purchased a small container of yogurt to use for this project but usually I just freeze some of my own yogurt for starter. (I've read that this doesn't work, that it will develop an off-flavor, but in 2 years I've never had a problem.) The cost of a quart of yogurt made this way? $2.08. Cost of a cup of commercially made organic yogurt (Nancy's)? 89 cents.

Of course, cost is not the most important factor in making food from scratch. Sometimes, you just want something the way you like it. When I was in Germany last month, I paid close attention to the muesli that I enjoy so much when I'm there. (Of all the foods available for breakfast when I'm travelling, muesli and yogurt seems to stick with me much better than anything else.) The European muesli looked pretty simple: oats and wheat or rye flakes, and a couple of kinds of dried fruit. The muesli I see at the store (and many of the recipes I've found) contain much more than that, plus added sugar and oil. That's not exactly the experience I'm looking for.

So yesterday, I mixed wheat flakes, dried cranberries, and dried pears with some oatmeat to make my own muesli. I just priced this out, and it comes to $3.85/pound. When I go to the store next week, I'm going to check and see if that's at all cheaper than the bulk muesli I always think is too expensive to buy.

Today I bake whole wheat bread. I've been trying to master whole wheat bread most of my adult life, and my constant litany has been: it's a small loaf, but it sure does taste good. And it's always true.

At the beginning of this year, I got King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking and recently I baked a light and delicious loaf from it. (This is as close to that recipe as I can find online: Classic 100% Whole Wheat Bread.) Eureka! I thought. I've finally mastered the art of whole grain baking! Now I can apply the lessons I've learned here (more yeast) to the other loaves I bake.

Today I learn that's not the lesson. The bread doesn't raise very well in the oven (it does fine in the bowl)—but it sure does taste good.

In the meantime, we enjoy this small but delicious loaf with Carrot Top Soup (big attraction: it uses an entire bunch of carrots!) from Deborah Madison's Local Flavors. Apart from the obvious high thrift-attraction of using the carrots and their tops (who would dream?) this soup is really wonderful. I use a quart of the vegetable stock I made earlier this week. I use an onion instead of a leek, because I neglected to pick one up at the store, and it would be even better with leeks. It's light and subtle—it would be a perfect early Spring soup. I keep forgetting how good it is between mouthfuls, and every time I take another bite, I'm surprised again by how good the carrots are, but not too carrot-y, and how nicely the flavors play off each other.

Saturday total: $7.27. Remaining weekly allowance: $9.76.

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Hi there, this is a fascinating study! I thought I would pass along my favorite carrot recipe that uses two whole bags of carrots (a pound). For the record, I am not a big cooked-carrot fan. I usually think they're gross, but this is delicious. Cut carrots in half, and then each half in four pieces (six pieces for the top half if it's much larger). Spread in a baking dish with 3-4 tbsp. olive oil. Sprinkle 4 tbsp fresh (3 tbsp. dried) thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Toss the carrots and seasoning, and bake covered at 450 until cooked through, about 30 minutes. Uncover and broil until lightly browned, about 7 minutes.

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about this project

» How did it begin?
» Week 1: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Photos | Summary: Under budget - $3.20
» Week 2: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Photos | Summary: Under budget - $13.34
» Week 3: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Photos | Summary: Under budget - $7.15
» Week 4: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Photos | Summary: Under budget - $6.41
» Week 5: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Photos

other food challenges

» Above Average Jane
» The Eat Local Challenge
» The April 2007 Penny-Wise Eat Local Challenge
» Half-Changed World
» Slow Food for Low and Moderate Income People
» Tinotopia's Food Stamp Diet

other food projects

Food is a Munition of War: living for one month on UK WWII rations

blogging by the book

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