Hello dear friends! Hope you are enjoying your June days! I'm always astounded that the flowers know to bloom, even if the weather isn't very June-like. We are enjoying lupines, columbine, the last of the lilacs and irises.
In the vegetable garden, we are harvesting lettuce, spinach, mustard greens and herbs.
Also canned stewed rhubarb.
We've been living simply for almost forty years, long before it was fashionable. As a matter of fact people thought we were quite odd with our canning- wash on the line- gardening lifestyle in the conspicuous consumption era of the eighties. One friend told us she liked coming to our house because it was like going to a living museum! One of the questions we have heard time and again is how do you feed all those boys so cheaply?
How To Feed Teenage Boys Without Breaking The Bank
1. Carbohydrates are good! I know that today, carbs are taboo, but growing active boys need a lot of calories. They also need something that sticks to the bones. Oatmeal is probably one of the thriftiest breakfasts that you can make. You'd break the bank, buying enough meat to satisfy a growing boy, but you can fill them up with lots of rice, noodles and potatoes. We grow our own potatoes, but around here, you can buy a 50 pound bag of potatoes for $8 in the fall. How far does $8 get you in the meat department?
2. Speaking of carbohydrates, we've found that eating it in the whole grain form is more filling than the refined forms. So go for brown rice, whole wheat bread and noodles.
3. A protein is a protein, is a protein. Meat doesn't have to be the only source of protein. Beans are cheaper. Most boys love Mexican food, which can easily be made with beans. To get a complete protein you need to combine beans with a whole grain. Which shouldn't be a problem, if you are filling them up with carbs!
4. Turkey is not just for Thanksgiving. We bought a turkey almost every month. It was the cheapest meat around. Plus we got gallons of broth from the carcasses. We even skimmed the fat off the top of and made brownies with them. There was nothing left of those birds except the quack. Because of the bird flu outbreak, I've read that turkey prices will be rising, so while the are still cheap, I'd buy a few if I had a freezer. But there's always some form of meat that is on sale. Lately, I've seen hams selling quite inexpensively. Large pork roasts are often inexpensive, you can substitute it for beef in stews and soups. Those boxes of bacon ends an pieces are wonderful! Just a little bacon can add so much flavor to baked beans and soups.
5. Check out unusual food sources. I know that some of the foreign food marts have much cheaper prices on spices and grains. We used to visit the bakery outlets quite often, back then. Stores like Big Lots often have some great buys. Shop with an open mind. We recently bought some unknown brand coffee at Big Lots for $2.50 a pound! It was good! So we went back and bought six months worth and froze it. BTW, we have very limited freezer spaces, so we reserve the space for deals on butter, coffee, cheese and berries from our garden. Everything else either gets canned or dehydrated.
6. Limit milk. A lot of friends bemoan that their teenage sons can drink a gallon of milk a day. You can limit milk it to just meals. We kept a jug of ice water in the fridge for quenching thirsts.
7. Keep the cookie jar filled! In hard times, it is always good to have comfort foods to help you feel less deprived. Cookies don't have to be expensive things with nuts and chocolates. Many old-fashioned recipe can be made with basic pantry staples, like sugar cookies, gingersnaps and oatmeal cookies.
8. Keep the fridge stocked with inexpensive snacks. I make up pasta salads, cut up celery sticks and carrots, and homemade yogurt. They make nicer, healthier, and cheaper snacks than bags of potato and tortilla chips.
9. Popcorn makes an inexpensive snack. If you pop it yourself (not the microwave type) popcorn is cheap, filling and a good source of fiber. We experiment with different seasonings to give us variety.
10. Mainly remember food is just food. It's purpose is to nourish you. Try to get as much nutrients out of meals as you can. Grate carrots and celery into hamburger. Instead of meat, add more beans to soups and casseroles. Buy food in it's most natural form. Don't fuss with unusual ingredients. Find recipes that use basic pantry staples. Buy fruits and vegetables in season, or better yet, grow your own. If you find a deal, find a way to preserve it.
Thrifty Things We Did This Week
Harvested spinach, lettuce, herbs, asparagus, rhubarb and beets from the garden
Planted 24 Chinese cabbages from seeds that we received as a free sample.
Son Jamie, bought a video game at a garage sale for $1 that he knew was a rare one. He traded it at a game store for $80 store credit.
Painted a bench with leftover trim paint from the shed.
Re-used the screen door hardware from an old screen door on a new screen door.
Bought mushrooms at the reduced-for-quick-sale rack and dried them in a pan in the car. Used no energy.
Also car-dried herbs form our garden.
Used the rinse water and water from the canner to water plants.
Harvested and canned rhubarb.
And as always, ate from the garden, hung laundry on the line, ate from the pantry, etc.
Well, that's it for this week! Hope you all a lovely week ahead of you!