Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Trying to EAT cheap and green

I have a dilemma. Eating cheap and green is getting to be quite the challenge in this economy. We don't eat 100% organic (although we do buy organic for the dirty dozen), but we do make most of our foods ourselves instead of prepackaged, processed stuff.

I am totally intrigued when I see articles saying, "Feed your family on 25c a day" but then I read the food/ingredients and know that won't work for me. Sure, I could feed my family for super cheap if I served Hamburger Helper, but we started avoiding that stuff mainly because of my husband's high blood pressure.

So I have the dilemma of preparing foods that are cheap and green, healthy yet easy. We have a couple of standby's (chili is one of our favorites) but I need some new recipes that stick to my cheapness but are healthy. I have found some good ideas at A Year of Crockpotting, but what kinds of recipes do you suggest? Keep in mind...easy recipes...I'm not a great cook :)


Alissa said...

I'll be watching intently for comments. :) We're facing the same dilemma... I'm not willing to sacrifice health for money, but at the same time those dollars only stretch so far! My long-term plan is to start growing and preserving as much of our own food as possible... but that's probably a couple of years away, since I'll have a newborn next spring. In the meantime, I'm just trying to shop the farmer's market for seasonal produce, and stock up on staples like dried beans, rice, and flour. :) Looking forward to any tips you might get!

meagan said...

Check out the bulk bins at your store. Even at our conventional grocer, they have a ton of organic items. Bulk is always cheaper, no matter what the item. I can bag my own organic coffee there for $8/lb or pay $10 3 aisles away for the exact same stuff. If they have rice, quinoa, polenta, beans, anything you normally use, a little bit of your time will help you get a better price.

iportion said...

Don't beat yourself I can only get organic foods once in awhile. Being green is not about what you can't but what you can. I often beat myself up for not being green enough.
Organic isn't green it's pesticide free if it takes a long time to ship to you than it isn't green. Sadly few things are grown locally.
So if you can get some local beans, wheat even if it's not organic that would be green.
Also safeway has an organic line that's not that bad.

iportion said...

If you drink dairy powdered milk can be green even if it's not organic.
1. Powdered milk not in the plastic containers.
2. You can have several packages and it saves you a trip to the store and gas. 3. Unopened packages don't spoil as readily as container milk. 4. You can make yogurt out of it and avoid plastic containers. "I got to start doing that again."

Christine said...

Thanks for the great ideas so far...keep them coming!

D. S. Foxx said...

Cheap and easy for this season? Stuffed squashes. If you're making thick soups, stews, etc. in the crockpot anyway, freeze some; next time, bake winter squash and stuff with the leftover stew. Or if you don't have any leftovers (does that really happen? -g-), stuff cheaper squashes with more expensive ingredients to extend the meal.

And don't forget that most of the heavy-skinned squashes except spaghetti squash can be "par-baked" whole; just scrub the outside of the squash and put it in the oven when you're cooking something else. **Poke a few holes if it feels exceptionally heavy for its size. This allows steam to escape, not necessary if you're only partially cooking the squash, but safer if you're uncertain about times.** You want it to cook about halfway, however long that is for the specific squash size and temp--let it cool, then cut open to remove seeds and strings. Half-cooked squashes are well suited for baking with precooked or quick-cooking ingredients, or the flesh can be scooped out and cooked.

composting for the apartment gardener