I am a bit ashamed that it took living gluten and casein free to get myself to face the other food yuckies we had in our pantry.
But as a wine ages nicely, so does this scallywhompis brain of mine- realizing that I might feel busy, but I'm never too busy to make the best choices for our wee ones (as often as I can).
It is important to note that with me staying at home, living off the income of one hard workin' Ranger, and feeding our children the food we feed them, is HARD! I work my tail off to turn the grocery, garden and farm finds into kid friendly foods. BUT it CAN be done.
It can be done even easier for those who coupon clip, or for those who look at weekly ads to find the best prices. I don't do any of that- and we still make it.
Some simple tips?
Eat in SEASON (as much as you can)
Buy meat in bulk and local
Steal eggs from your neighbor friends (or raise your own...)
Don't buy dairy products
Bake and make from scratch
Buy grains in BULK
Don't waste (one man's trash is another man's chicken stock)
GARDEN! Canning, freezing, preserving...make it your bestie.
For today, I think talking meat and eggs is the best jumping off point, as animal products can be really intense on the budget and our bodies.
I have no intent on getting all preachy about the environmental impact that the meat industry has on our planet. I won't mention that we, Americans, feed our cows...cows and our chickens get fed...other chickens. And of course the facts that 75% of the US' antibiotics get put into our animals for human consumption, will not be posted in this post.
Fact is...the TRUTH is- the meat and eggs we have to choose from in the grocery store is either FULL of nastiness or horribly expensive (we're talking $7-$10 a pound for free ranged ground beef).
Down the road from our house lives a farmer who raises grass fed, free ranged cows. Who get slaughtered on their farms with a single bullet shot to the head (the most humane way to kill a cow).
You pay the butcher $.50 a pound to cut, wrap and pack the meat.
You pay $2.10 a pound to the farmer for the meat itself.
That is $2.60 a pound for beautiful, healthy, clean meat.
My parents and I shared 1/2 a cow and that meat will last us an entire year.
With all of my baking, we go through eggs like cray cray around here. (I can't even imagine how many eggs we would eat if Carter wasn't allergic).
We've had chickens on and off, and this past weekend we went out and got our yearly chicks for $2 each. It takes a few months before they start laying- but once they do, you can expect around 1 egg a day per chicken (we have 4 chickens so we will get about 28 eggs per week.
In the store, a dozen free ranged chicken eggs will cost upwards $6 a dozen- it costs about $20 every month to feed the chickens at Farm de Snell. Doing the math:
We would spend around $48 a month on eggs- while raising them ourselves keeps the cost at half of that!
Chicken and Pig
We just don't eat pig.
And we have an order in (from another local farmer- cutest farmer I know) for free ranged, whole chickens for $3 a pound.
Here's the deal- I have never and will never be an all or nothing kid. I have not and will continue to not pass judgement on other's choices.
With the knowledge I have and the budget, lifestyle and values we live with- I just do the best I can, as often as I can.