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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Waste Not, Want Not

“...in a well regulated kitchen nothing is ever wasted, but with careful preparation even the 'rough ends' of a beef steak may be made into a wholesome, tender and appetizing dish; that 'stale bread' may be used in the most delicious 'desserts' and 'farcies,' and 'left-over' food from the day before need not be thrown in the trash-box, but may be made into an endless variety of wholesome and nutrious dishes.”
‘The Picayune’s Creole Cook Book’ (1901)

It appears that I'm onto something here with my desire to be self-sustaining with a vegetable garden.  The lead story on the local news last night was the immediate price increase of fruits and vegetables due to the insane weather around the world.  The reporter was explaining how to start veggies indoors now.  That's great but we still have to eat until they produce and our apple and pear trees have a long way to go before we can enjoy their gifts.  (I will pick up my veggie plants at Arnold's Fruit Farm when I go into Muskogee tomorrow.)

Careful menu planning is a necessity to avoid a budget blowout.  So here are my budget recipes for a week of good "vittles". Some leftovers will go into Becky's lunch bag for the following day.
  1. Southern Ham And Brown Beans (pinto) are a staple in our household because they are inexpensive and easy to cook.  I will cook these next week when the weather is cold to add extra heat in the house (remember, everything must serve two purposes for maximum effectiveness).   Any leftover beans go into a Mexican dish as refried beans.
  2. We have a freezer full of fish so a nice  herb baked fish and rice  recipe with a green salad is especially easy.
  3. Ham and Pineapple Pizza. Photo by LifeIsGoodMy leftover veggies (bell peppers, onions), shredded cheese and ham will make a nice pizza with a generous amount of canned pineapple.

   4.   Also, in my fridge is fresh cauliflower which will make a great soup with   a melted cheese sandwich on the side.
   5.   Using my leftover beans, one pound of hamburger meat (90% lean stocked in the freezer), a package of taco seasoning, a can of diced tomatoes and a few more stocked items and  I have my Baked Mexican Casserole. 
Taco Bake II Recipe
   6.   The leftover fish will go into a chowder with other seafood which I have stocked in the freezer. 
Becky loves cheese, so again we will have a melted cheese sandwich. Seafood Chowder. Photo by CoolMonday
   7.   My freezer is my best friend when it comes to budget cooking.  I have frozen chicken fritters which I will bake in the oven.  Becky's recipe for 14 minute mashed parsley potatoes will be a perfect side dish.  A simple green salad will round out the meal beautifully.

My shopping list will be short and simple.  Some items will be purchased with double coupons at Homeland Grocery Store.  With a little planning, eating well is a breeze and very budget friendly.  Every penny I save can be put aside for emergencies or reinvested into our home to make it more eco-friendly.

The Big Picture, we are all connected:
Mickey Paggi of the Center for agricultural business said we should all be concerned over rising corn and wheat prices. "If corn prices hold up then everything that comes from corn is going to have to go up at some point, meat especially. You'll see meat and poultry, people that are big feeders of corn these prices are really high."

Cereal prices are expected to spike. The price of rice also saw an increase.

Several factors figured into the rising food costs. Paggi says they include growing demand, bad weather, rising fuel costs, as well as increased corn production for bio-fuel use.(The perfect storm for food production globally?) He said, "Now we use about the same amount for ethanol as we do as feed for livestock. It's about five billion bushels."

The ethanol industry said the impact of bio-fuels on rising food prices was "over-stated."(Personally, I have a great deal of difficulty believing this. Just ask any real farmer.) 

The UN believes global food prices will continue to rise. (No Surprise Here!)

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