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Old 01-14-2008, 11:33 AM   #11
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Re: Eating organic/All natural on a budget?

Thought I should post this here as well for anyone else living in Sacramento.

Hi Sacramento mama!

Thanks for your pm. Listen, you've got it easy up there. So many options.

First things first. How close are you to the Sacramento Waldorf School in Fair Oaks? I know that area a little since I go there three times a year. They have an organic biodynamic farm attached to the Rudolf Steiner College which is next to the school. They host a farmers market on Thursday I think. Call them up to see. When you go there, pick up a copy of Edible East Bay or Edible Sacramento. (For Edible magazine info in your city, visit www.ediblecommunities.com) You may be able to find a copy of it elsewhere as well. This magazine has great recipes but more importantly has ads from local food manufacturers. Poke through the ads and find the items that are appealing to you and then call to see if they open themselves to the public for tours or to sell their day olds or seconds. Getting to know the management is how you get great deals.

I also noticed that Edible Sacramento had a calendar of food events such as harvest parties. Now it takes some courage but I have no problem asking to take home all of the leftovers or raw materials that weren't used. Most places throw it away or let it rot. Most people are happy to see it all leave with a mama and several kids in tow.

Next, you gotta do step one and log onto www.localharvest.org to find the farms or farmers markets in your area. I would start with farms no more than 45 miles from your house at the most. Does it sound like I'm all over town chasing food? Nope. I literally only take three car rides with my children A MONTH. Twice to a local farm for eggs, chicken and cow milk and once to the coop monthly shopping. The rest of the time I visit my local farmers market by foot and come home with not only what is for sale on the tables but items farmers bring just for me from their farm. Now that's service! I reward my farmers with lunch, dinner or an occasional sweet. Since I don't spend all of that much on a weekly basis, I love to save up so that I have cash on hand to say "I'll take every ear of corn you have today!"

Let me know how it goes! Eat all organic and local. You can do it!

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Old 01-14-2008, 11:56 AM   #12
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Re: Eating organic/All natural on a budget?

binkydl you are awesome! My dh & I are getting more & more passionate about all this stuff too. Our family, particularly his have been so tough on us....they don't understand why we choose to eat this way. It's new for my dh & I but we have becoming more & more committed to it ...we started in baby steps & then we just kept wanting more the more we did research. If people don't choose to eat this way, that is fine...but leave us alone already. I am doing it for many reasons now, but it started b/c of my blood sugar levels. I am not diabetic but I am hypoglycemic & I don't want to become a diabetic. Also, my father has high cholesterol on meds...and I don't want that for myself.

It's scary with all the food now...and all of it starting to be made in a lab. I am with you on the diseases...they don't have enough studies to know what that kind of food can do for you. You are right, people ate so differently even 50 yrs ago, and now we want it all ...and it to be convenient...

Thanks for all the info!!! I am going to have my dh read the thread when he gets home. We are thinking about getting chickens & starting a garden. I originally grew up in a city/suburban area..but we now live on 70acres of land in PA where my dh grew up. I'll let you know how it goes!
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Old 01-14-2008, 08:38 PM   #13
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Re: Eating organic/All natural on a budget?

Binkydl,
Thank you, thank you, I agree and have learned so much from your post, I will research more. TY TY TY, Suzanne
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Old 01-14-2008, 11:07 PM   #14
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Re: Eating organic/All natural on a budget?

adding to this thread...my friend took her ds to his first visit with teh only AP doctor in Savannah. She hasn't taken him to a doc for months because she doesn't want to hear it about not vaccing, and this doc had a 3 month waiting list to get in.
Anyway, they talked about all organics for her l.o. who is 11 months and the rise in stomach cancers and other problems and he flat out told her - organics for your baby. PERIOD.

makes us determined to keep going the way we are!
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Old 01-16-2008, 03:50 PM   #15
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Re: Eating organic/All natural on a budget?

Las Vegas Mama,

Sorry it took me a while to get back to you! We hosted a farmer on Monday night and once I looked outside, weeds were up to my armpits. I nearly had to do surgery to locate the microscopic onion shoots. Whew!

Here it goes:

You've got some options mama! Like me, it appears that you have a year round farmers market which offers the best from our "fifth season" AND an herb farm that sells organic eggs for $3 a dozen.

First, log onto www.localharvest.com and get the info about your area. You will need to visit the farmers market weekly to get to know the vendors.

On my previous posts, I forgot to mention a tip I learned from the WAHM that runs our market here where I live. The vendors often won't have all of the food they grow on their tables since they often can't be in competition with other farmers. Example: My favorite organic local farmer can't put fruit on his table since there is another organic farmer a few stalls down that sells only organic fruit. Once you meet a farmer, remember to ask what they've got in the truck. Find out if they have other items they don't bring to the market. Ask for seconds in quantity (apples, oranges, whatever). This is how you start to get the farmers bringing you stuff like raw goat milk, eggs, etc.

Also when I go to the market, I make a day of it. It's only for a few hours so I get there early at set up and buy all of my choice items first. Then I visit, eat my lunch, chat with other mothers, drink tea, eat free samples and then at end go make those end of the market deals. Last week I hit the farmer with the Cinderella pumpkins. (Next year I've got to grow these!) He was asking some per pound price. I asked what his best price would be on the smallest one. He knows me so he's used to my haggling. He said $5. I said, "So that you don't have to load those up, I'll take all four of those at that price." This included the biggest ones of course. He was generous and gave me a deal. Each of those pumpkins will serve all seven of us three times or give me plenty of hard squash to make pumpkin pie or pumpkin roll with. I had to call for help to get them home but it was worth it!

Now as for the local herb farm near your Las Vegas home, you gotta stop by and get to know them. They probably supply all of the casinos with herbs. I bet they grow lettuces as well. I would be tickled pink if they were near me because you can make pesto with just about any herb you want and freeze it for your "fast food". Pesto goes with everything and it can be vegan if you don't do dairy. You might also want to see if they will sell you their pee wee eggs or mixed small size for less. My farm does and since I don't bake with those, their size doesn't matter especially for egg-on-the-whole.

Last, another tip I forgot to mention. Look up the "Slow food" chapter in your area. They typically host events for local foodies but are in touch with artisan food manufactures in your area.

Keep us posted!

Local & Organic - Think Globally, Act Locally
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Old 01-16-2008, 03:55 PM   #16
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Re: Eating organic/All natural on a budget?

New England Mama,

My dinner menu changes based on what's at the market. I admit to being spoiled because with our "fifth season". I've still got tomatoes on the vine and lettuce coming up everywhere. I'd like to suggest "Feeding the Whole Family". It's a nice book that helps you to prepare meals that are appealing to adults but that include instructions to remove ingredients for the children before adult seasoning. I use this technique a lot. There are some other books I like for that as well. (I'm a cookbookaholic. I bet you can tell). I'll post more when I can think of them.

Since you are up to your armpits in sweet potatoes and squash I'll put a few ideas here from "Louise's Leaves" along with my basic dinner menu for this week.

Sweet Potatoes-
*Soup or cubed as an addition to clear veggie soup
*Potato Pancakes, hash browns and fries
*Brazilian Style baked, split, topped with lentils cooked with cuts of orange slices and some grated rind.
*Sweet Potato Pie
*Other toppings (she recommends sweet and sour combos)-
curried nut-butter sauce
cinnamon pecan onion orange sauce
clove-spiked dried fruit and nut sauce be sure to include apricots or peaches along with lemon juice for tang

Pumpkins & Squash
(I use them interchangeably and am working to get through these as well)-
*Pumpkin soup two ways (my recipe to follow)
*Pumpkin pie
*Pumpkin roll (vegan)
*Autumnal Stew (chunks of pumpkin, carrots, turnip, onion, sage, thyme)
*Pumpkin Cookies
*Pumpkin Tamales
*Grated pumpkin salad with pear, parsley, lemon, oil
*Pumpkin Pancakes and waffles
*Pumpkin marmalade with , apple, plum or orange and cloves

My Pumpkin/Squash Soup Two Ways:

First, I cut open the squash and "scoop out the sloppy" as my son would say. I soak the seeds in salt water and bake later to chop and add as garnish to the salad and soup itself.

I use a pressure cooker since it's faster but any old stock pot will do. Sautee an onion and salt in olive oil until its transparent and brown. Add peeled chopped pumpkin and more salt. Cook until tender. Then mash (I use a potato masher). If its a big pumpkin or squash, I remove two cups to freeze for pumpkin pie and roll. Next, add a little rice milk to make it a little creamy and then split this into another pot. Now you have two pots. One pot I season for "Pumpkin Pie" soup with agave nectar, maple syrup, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and red chili flake. The other pot gets seasoned with fresh sage, curry, pepper, and garam masala. One savory and one sweet. I freeze one for later and serve the other with a fresh salad and quick broiled garlic bread.

Finally, as you requested, here are my dinner plans:

Split Lentil Soup
Egyptian Pizza (Ful Medames) I use garbanzo beans instead of fava
Homemade Pizza (Weekly) The kids roll out and dress their own
Mexican Night with homemade refried beans (easy), tamales and fish tacos
Millet Burgers (Make extra to make fajitas)
Chicken Potpie with a biscuit crust
Fish, sweet fries, and veggies

Some of my dinners do double duty as lunch. Redressed of course. And one dessert a week does double duty as breakfast.

"Egyptian Pizza" or Ful Medames-

I make this dish in a huge cast iron skillet and serve it with pita bread or quick broiled garlic bread triangles poked in around the edges. My husband's colleagues and my children all love it. This recipe can be doubled if needed.

Either 2 cans or garbanzos or freshly cooked garbanzos or favas
Three cloves of diced garlic
One large onion
One large tomato
One lemon
A handful of parsley
Cumin
Paprika
Olive oil
Sea salt

In your skillet, saute one diced onion in olive oil until wilted and clear. Add garlic. When you can smell the garlic, add the diced tomato and beans. Cover and let simmer until soft. Mash with your masher, add the juice of one lemon, half the the parsley and continue to stir, simmer and then mash again. Start with one teaspoon each of cumin and paprika. Salt to taste. Once it is seasoned properly, zig zag some olive oil and garnish with the remaining parsley all over the top. Stick your break triangles all along the outer edge of the pan and serve. This is great hot or room temp.

Hope this helps! Will post more when I have more time. Gotta cook the refried from scratch tonight! (So inexpensive and so easy!)

P.S.- I haven't forgotten you midwest and Montana mamas. I'm working on some ideas for you and will post them soon.

Eat Organic and Local!
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Old 01-16-2008, 08:13 PM   #17
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Re: Eating organic/All natural on a budget?

Someone just pm'd a great question.

Since organic meat or poultry shows up in my dinner menu a few times this week, isn't that costly. Well yes and no. Like I said earlier, I purchase organic meat products from my local farmers very sparingly due to cost. I always ask for what is the freshest since I won't use it all at once. I never serve it as the main dish. I always serve it as a SIDE DISH and no more than 2 oz of protein per person per day per John Robbins recommendation from "Healthy at 100". So if I serve a meat dinner, the breakfast will be grain versus egg.

In the pot pie or any dishes that I make, soup, etc. The organic poultry or fish just make an appearance for names sake so to speak. So maybe one or two pieces of chicken will be included in an entire pot pie but the biscuit crust, sauce, and veggies will be so amazing that you won't notice that.

Trust me! I'm the only one in the house that prefers to eat veggie all of the time and my meat eating family never notices how little "high quality meat" graces their table. They think its great!

For great meal ideas, I love my cookbook collection, veg net and Saveur. I just make substitutions for organic ingredients using what I have on hand. The Saveur website makes all of its magazines recipes FREE. This is where I picked up the refried beans and tamales we had tonight. One of fillet fish was a side and didn't even get finished because the rest was sooooo good!

Hope these ideas help! You can do it.

Act Organically, Eat Locally!
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Old 01-21-2008, 03:31 PM   #18
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Re: Eating organic/All natural on a budget?

WOW! A lot of wonderful suggestions here!

We try to eat organic and local as much as possible and am really wanting to find a better way of doing so in a more cost effective way. I very much appreciate all of the ideas here.

Kimberly
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Old 01-21-2008, 04:15 PM   #19
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Re: Eating organic/All natural on a budget?

I am so excited to see this thread! This issue is really dear to me and we have been struggling lately. Colorado is far more expensive than people think for food, housing, etc. I am trying to figure out how I can feed a family of four (and then five once the baby on the way "eats") for $300-400 MAX per month. Any tips for my area would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-22-2008, 06:53 AM   #20
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Re: Eating organic/All natural on a budget?

any tips for canadian moms?....I'm having major trouble finding affordable organic food here....farmers markets are opened only in the summer time. We do have buying coops for fruit and veggies but almost nothing is local in the winter
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