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Monday, August 31, 2009

Are you more DIY than you were before?

With the economy taking a dive and still struggling (IMO) to revive itself, lots of people have turned to more self-sustaining or DIY methods of food prep around the house in order to try to stretch their dollars or be more accountable for what they use.

I personally have really enjoyed and been inspired by Couponing in Critical Times' blog. She does a fantastic job of routinely emphasizing and giving personal examples of things she grows, makes from scratch, or finds creative uses for rather than wasting odds and ends.

I dove into the realm of trying to grow some of our own food this summer and not only have I done pretty decently at the growing part, but it's also forced me to appreciate that food more (b/c I spent the $ on pots, dirt, etc) and use it in as many ways as I can. And THAT has lead to even more experimentation in the kitchen with MAKING things that are usually store-bought to save even more money.

*I went whole-hog in my planting by ordering all my plants as SEEDS and starting from the ground up, literally. NEVER done that before! But it was really fun! I got to give away quite a few seedlings as I thinned them out, even trading some for other people's herbs/plants.

*I grew a mix of summer lettuces and spinach so that we could have our own fresh salads instead of the bagged version (which almost always went partially bad before we could finish). I started harvesting my lettuce early so we began with baby green salads. I've since let both go to flower/seed and will try to harvest some of those for next year. I will probably also order an extra pack to start a late fall crop.

*My bell peppers didn't do well for some reason.. I made the mistake of planting them with the eggplants (which have taken over) and I think those guys just sucked the soil dry of nutrients. Lesson learned for next year.

*My italian eggplants have started coming in droves and I've been learning to blanch 'em, bread 'em, and freeze 'em for eggplant parmesans. By the time the summer is over I should have plenty to last through spring.

*One of my swapped plants was a single basil plant. Over everything else, this thing is exploding! I've used the leaves on frozen pizzas, salads, pasta, and I plan to try to make my own pesto.

*With the fresh basil and discovery of my local bakery outlet, I've bought Texas-Toast style bread and have been making my own frozen garlic toast. I keep butter, garlic powder/salt and oregano on hand, the basil is from my yard, and the loaf costs about $1.25. I get upwards of 20-25 slices whereas I was paying $2 for 8 slices of the store kind.

*Once upon a time, I'd buy a bag of potatoes and just accept the fact that 1/2 would go bad before I used them. We can only eat so many baked/mashed/roasted potatoes in a household of 2, y'know? But at the same time, I was buying frozen roasted potatoes b/c they kept far longer... Why?? B/c I didn't realize I could slow-bake a few potatoes at once, let cool completely on the counter, then slice/dice and FREEZE myself. Once frozen, I can just pour out however much I want for roasted wedges, casseroles/potpies, or frying as breakfast.

What are YOU doing to become more DIY?


1 comment:

  1. I'm flattered you said that my blog has been helpful to you! (Blushing) It sounds like your garden has been rocking this year! Keep up the good work!