Eat from the Pantry Challenge Update

In my first Eat from the Pantry Challenge Post last week I announced our goal to spend $25 per week on groceries and use up the stores of our pantry for the majority of our meals. My biggest concern was that we might have to compromise on the quality of our produce. For both ethical and health reasons I strongly prefer to by organic fruits and vegetables. And so, I was quite pleased to find good prices on the items that I was buying and on my first two grocery runs it all worked out.

Groceries:

$17.79: 1 gallon 2% milk, apples, clementines, eggs, celery, carrots (all organic, excepting eggs)

$26.01: broccoli, bananas, red peppers, vegan cheese, eggs, bath soap for Little Boy Green (all organic)

$8.35: 6 Pack Dales Pale Ale beer for Mr. Green Me.

Total for week one and two: $52.15

At this point you may be wondering what we have been eating. Frankly, weve been eating like kings! The treasures that can be found in our freezer continue to astound me. Last Sunday we had a  most delicious meal of sauerkraut, potato dumplings and bratwurst. The entire meal was local. The sausage was from a small scale sausage maker here in town (they only produce in the summer and sell at the Farmers Market). The sauerkraut, apples, potatoes, carrots and onions all came from either Farmers Market or a CSA and were prepared and frozen by me in the fall. I cooked the meal and served it in my new cast iron skillet (thank you Santa!) and we practically licked our plates clean.

 

On Monday night we had a vegetarian pasta dish with a side of roasted acorn squash and sauteed mushrooms, garlic and onions. This meal was again quite gourmet and enjoyed by all. Little Boy Green even went so far as to say of the sauteed mushroom mix this is delicious Mommy!

On Tuesday we had a meatloaf made from frozen beef and various pantry items. This dinner was served with a side of roasted Brussel sprouts and purple mashed potatoes (the potatoes I have left are all purple).

Wednesday we finished off the meat loaf and started on a vegetable soup that Id made from canned tomato paste, CSA vegetables (carrots, beets, turnips and onions) and rice. The soup ended up too hot without a lot of flavor, so Wednesdays dinner was not so well received.

Thursday, I had the clever idea to mix sauteed garlic cloves, sliced dates and some Earth Balance in with the soup from Wednesday. Served over rice it gave it a distinctive Morrocan flavor and was quite delicious. Well be having that again for dinner tonight.

Meals for the weekend will probably included roasted sesame broccoli, brown rice and winter squash. Breakfasts will be pancakes and eggs. Lunch will likely continue to be left overs from the previous nights dinner.

The hardest part of this has been going to the grocery store. I am quite familiar with how to handle cravings for sweets and it is pretty easy for me (although not for many people) to just eat a square of chocolate and return the rest to the cupboard. However, it is amazingly difficult for me to walk by a little yellow sale tag at the grocery store and not stock up. A fact that just might explain my pantry that is bursting at the seems!

Have a wonderful weekend and may you eat well!

Orange Cinnamon Granola

Mr. Green Me loves to eat cereal for breakfast in the morning; however, in our Eat from the Pantry Challenge, cereal is not permitted on the grocery list. I may be okay with scavenging from the cupboards for breakfast, but I want to send my husband off to work with a full and happy belly. And so, I last night I invented my own granola recipe, based on ingredients that we have in our pantry. Mr. Green me had two servings for breakfast and proclaimed it Not too sweet, not too complicated, but just right! And, then he went so far as to say it was in his top a contender for best granola ever (the other contender is homemade granola we had at a B&B on our honey moon).

4 Cups Oats*
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp peanut butter
2 Tbsp canola oil
1/4 cup honey
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp orange extract
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup dried cranberries

Preheat your oven to 350F degrees, while collecting all of your ingredients. Next toast the oats on a cookie sheet or in a casserole pan in the oven at 350F for about 20 minutes. Stir them every 5 minutes to achieve even browning. Remove oats from oven and pour into a large mixing bowl. Combine peanut butter, canola oil, honey, cinnamon, vanilla and orange extract in a microwave safe bowl and nuke for about 20 seconds until warm, but not bubbling. Pour mixture over toasted oats and stir well to coat. Spread oat mixture back into toasting pan and bake at 350F for 10 minutes. Remove pan, flip, stir or toss oats and return pan to the oven for 10 minutes. Remove oats from the oven just as they begin to turn golden brown. Let cool completely (at least an hour) before pouring into a food safe glass container. Leave lid off for 4 to 8 hours (or over night) to prevent moisture condensation and keep the granola nice and crunchy. Add in 1/4 cup dried berries, mix well and the granola is ready to serve!

Eat from the Pantry: Tex-Mex Bi Bim Bop Casserole

How much do you think your family spends on food each year? Family Green Me spent 2009 tracking our spending in Mint and we were shocked by the reality of our food spending.  I knew that we spent a decent amount on food and my estimate was pretty accurate for our dining out expenses, but my grocery estimate was about 1/3 of our actual expenses!!! (Ill let you in on how much we spent at the end of this post.)

Id like to attribute part of my massive grocery expense to the fact that I like to stock the pantry. In fact, if I didn’t look so human, you might think I was part squirrel (and or I watched the Crash Course one too many times) as I’ve accordingly acquired a huge amount of bulk, frozen and pantry goods since the summer months. With this in mind and I had already decided in December that we need to eat more from the pantry and buy fewer impulse foods or meal ingredients at the grocery store. And so, I was ready to bite when I saw a friend post a link to the Eat from the Pantry Challenge for January, which is being co-hosted by MoneySavingMom and Life as Mom.

We were actually pretty successful with our food budget and eating from the pantry for December and so I am quite excited at the challenge to really batten down the hatches and eat primarily from the pantry this month. The meal I made tonight was absolutely delicious and rescued multiple food items that normally would have been snugging up in my compost pail rather than my belly! It truly is immensely satisfying to have combined both left overs, frozen veggies and old veggies to make a delicious vegetarian meal!

Tex-Mex Bi Bim Bop Casserole (Food Fusion at its best!)

4 cups pre-cooked white rice

1.5 cups pre-cooked black beans (previously seasoned with cumin, allspice, bay and paprika)

1 small napa cabbage, chopped

1 small red onion, chopped

1 cup corn kernels

1/3 cup Veganaise

6 tortillas (I used homemade, gluten free)

12 oz tomato sauce (unseasoned or fire roasted)

1 tsp Kosher (or coarse) salt

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp paprika

1 to 2 cups grated cheese (vegan or dairy)

Directions: pre-heat oven to 350F and pour 1/2 of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 913 casserole pan. Next, dump your rice, beans, corn, chopped cabbage and onions, and spices all into a big mixing bowl. Measure out 1/3 cup Vegenaise and stir all ingredients together until coated and evenly distributed. Lay 3 tortillas in bottom of casserole pan (you may have to break one in pieces to get full coverage). Spread mixture into pan and top with remaining 3 tortillas. Sprinkle grated cheese on top. Cover with tinfoil or a cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil or cookie sheet and bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Cut and serve like you would a lasagna and enjoy!

I realize that this recipe sounds totally nutty; however, it was really, truly, delicious. Mr. Green Me even went back for seconds, a rare event in our household! Another bonus? This was a mostly local meal! The beans, corn, cabbage, tomatoes and onions were all grown in CO and either stored, frozen or canned before use in this meal! If you dont have identical ingredients on hand you should be able to keep spices, tomato sauce, rice and Vegenaise (I prefer the grapeseed variety) the same, but substitute celery, carrots, potatoes or any other kind of vegetable in place of the cabbage and the corn, and achieve similar results. I served ours with a side of turnips au gratin (left overs from the previous night).

This month we have already spent $126 on grocery stores and $54 dollars on dining out. However, for the rest of the month the goal is to spend $25 per week on groceries, netting out at $250 for the entire month. We are going to leave our dining out budget at $150 per month as that is generally not a problem and still brings our total Food Budget for the month to a very reasonable (IMHO) $400.

Goals:

  1. Spend $25.00 or less per week to purchase milk for Little Boy Green; some cheese; and, our weekly eggs. Green veggies or fruit may be included on an as needed basis.
  2. Eat and use leftovers until they are gone versus ignoring leftovers until they are fated to be reborn in the compost.
  3. Eat meat two times or less per week. Eat vegan or vegetarian 5 days per week.
  4. Use frozen vegetables, remaining vegetables from our CSA winter share (still have beets, squash, an onion and potatoes), and frozen fruit before buying new fresh fruit and veggies.
  5. Make bread or pasta from scratch with my vast bulk reserves rather than buying the pre-packaged kind.
  6. Use dried rice and beans until I start to make a dent in our bulk stores. I think we might have enough to get us through March on simply rice and beans!
  7. Send Mr. Green Me to work with leftovers for lunch rather than buying him stand alone lunch packing items.

Hopefully this post has inspired you to both join the Eat from the Pantry Challenge and also to take a look at your food expenses. Who knows, if you are like us, you very well might be able to afford that dream vacation (or solar panels or new windows or preschool for your kid) if you could reign in your food spending!

Dont believe me? While reviewing our year we discovered that we spent nearly 14% of our income on food (groceries, eating out, wine and beer, etc.) in 2009. Now, if you believe statistics, this percentage is on the high end of average. However, that would assume that our family income is also average, which it is not, so I am pretty sure that we spend way more on food than the average American. According to statistics our household income definitely puts us in the category of folks who live a pretty comfy life. My food goal thus for the year 2010 is to cut our food budget in half, while also donating to our local food bank on a more regular basis! Ill let you know how that is going as the year progresses!

More on SIGG: trade secrets and our health

The recent hoopla over hidden BPA in SIGG water bottles was made possible because it is legal for a company to not disclose the ingredients of packaging that comes in contact with our food and water because of trade secrets. Now, I cannot claim to be an expert or to even have done significant research on this topic; however, had SIGG been legally required to disclose the content of their old liner (and even their new one) for the simple fact that it comes in contact with beverages consumed by humans (or anyone really) we would not have had this issue arise.

I find it ironic that paint (such as non toxic milk paints) or even my non toxic cleaning products, must have a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), because many of these items do contain toxic ingredients. And yet, SIGG (and other manufacturers) are allowed to claim trade secrets and not reveal the ingredients of their liner, despite the fact that over time food containers and utensils have been found to contain ingredients that are toxic, such as lead, and more recently, BPA. This is especially silly considering that no one actually expects you to eat paint; however, the primary expectation for a water bottle is that it holds beverages that folks intend to consume. How can it possibly be legal that SIGG was able to claim trade secret and not disclose the ingredients of their water bottle liners?

This line of thought has led me to wonder what else I dont know about food containers and the regulations that direct how they can be made and what exactly makes them food safe. If there is not already legislation in the works to require full disclosure on ingredients (even non reactive ingredients) for containers that hold food and beverages for human consumption, there needs to be one!  In the meantime, our family will do our best to stick with glass and stainless steel.

If you have any ideas or great resources regarding this topic please share them below or write about them on your blog and send me the link to share.

Our Slow Food Dinner: good, clean and family food!

On Sunday afternoon we hosted half a dozen families (about 14 adults and that many kids) for a local slow food dinner. Everyone made his or her own dishes (including some home brewed hard (local) apple cider and Kombucha) and used as many local ingredients as possible. The spread covered everything from home baked Artesian breads and freshly made Queso to massaged kale salad (delicious!), cantaloupe salsa, beet salad, roasted corn and Colorado grown beans and tortillas.

The motivation for this dinner came from our small organic co-op organizer (otherwise know as Nature Deva) who has been lamenting the fact that our local Slow Food organization does not welcome children to their dinners. And what could emphasize the values of Slow Food more than taking the time to break bread and savor it with both friends and family? In our view teaching everyone, children included, about the pleasures and history of our vast food heritage is of utmost importance.  Indeed, we all had a wonderful meal and, the highlight of the evening was enjoying our children eat, play, sing, run and be silly. My husband (a self proclaimed foodie) said that it was the best party weve ever had and with out the kids it just would not have been the same.

As a group we are compiling recipes and pictures for the evening. I will post links to other blog posts about the event as they are published. In the meantime here are the recipes for the dishes that I prepared:

Simple Madagascar Style Beans (made from a Colorado cousin of a pinto bean):

To start:
-2 tbsp canola oil in bottom of crockpot
– 1 large or several small onions diced (I used fresh small red onions from the Farmers Market)
– several cloves of garlic chopped (also local from market)
– 2 to 5 bay leaves
– 2+ cups beans (2 cups dry, soaked over night in water)
– 1 tsp allspice
– water to cover beans plus an inch
Cook beans in crock pot until tender about 3 to 5 hours depending on your pot.

Add when beans are cooked:
– 1 to 2 tsps salt (depends on taste preference)
– 1 tsp ground coriander
– 2 large or 4 to 6 small potatoes chopped
Cook an additional 2 to 4 hours until potatoes are tender and soup is starting to thicken

When I was in Madagascar I stayed at a reserve where the Malagasy cook made salty beans cooked until almost mushy with onions. This recipe is about as close as I can replicate you can make it with any type of bean and I think it tastes delicious over a bowl of rice. When our beans were too salty one night at the Reserve, the Malagasy researches that I was staying with said that it meant the cook was in love! So, if your beans come out too salty, it just might be good news! Simple, but satisfying!

Tortillas (I found my recipe here, but altered as seen below):

– 4 cups fine whole wheat flour (we are lucky to have a great source for locally milled flour!)
– 3 teaspoons of baking powder
– 2 teaspoons of salt
– 2 tbsp canola oil
– 2 tbsp melted Earth Balance Spread
– 1 tsp local honey
– 1.5 cups warm coconut milk

As the recipe at Home Sick Texan recommends, knead the sticky dough for two minutes on a floured board. I covered mine with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes. I then pinched off small balls and rolled them out flat (about 6 inch tortillas) and cooked in a skillet.

Hoo! Hoo! and Meow! Crackers for the Munckin (and his Dad)

A few day ago I was finally inspired to make the cracker recipe published at the Green Phone Booth a few months ago. Baby Green Me has discovered bunny crackers and I am hesitant to not only feed him a snack on a regular basis that is lacking in nutritional value (no fiber, just carbs) and that is also quite pricey per ounce. On the flip side, who can pass up cute animal crackers?

The first time I made the recipe I followed EnviRambos recipe, except for substituting sesame seeds for rosemary. The second time I made the crackers I increased the nutritional yeast to 4 tablespoons for a cheesier flavor, increased my sesame seeds to two table spoons and I added an extra 2 tablespoons of water to make the dough work (with the extra yeast & seeds).

Both times I used my mini kitty and owl cookie cutters to make animal crackers that my son would love. Not only did the crackers work, but Baby Green Me loves themhe might eat them in exclusion of any other foods if I let him! And these crackers are filled with fiber, protein, and a little extra calcium and B vitamins thanks to the nutritional yeast and sesame seeds!

I wont recreate the recipe here as the original is a perfect starting point; however, I have included a few photos of my cracker making experience. Enjoy!

If you have a cracker fiend in your home or just need some healthy on the go snacks for your kiddos I highly recommend trying out these crackers. They were super easy to make (it took less than 10 minutes to mix up the dough), easy to handle, they cook in 15 minutes (or less) and then are ready to go!

Longmont are you Chicken?

For the average green blog I have probably written extensively about my love of goats (and strawberries). Did you know I also love chickens? As a kid we had chickens, I helped my Dad feed them, broke the ice on their water in the Winter and I helped to eat their eggs for breakfast. All and all I never thought much about having chickens. As the years grew on our chickens grew old and eventually my Dad decided to cut back on his animal husbandry, and since their last two cats have passed on, my parents now own ZERO animals (for the first time in over 30 years).

But I digress. I love chickens. Or more specifically I love the yellow, golden, creamy yolks that are found inside eggs harvested fresh from hand raised chickens. So does my 16 month old son. When I scramble up a fresh egg from the chickens at Ollin Farms, my son gobbles up ever last bite. When I serve him up a pale grocery store egg even a cage free omega filled Nest Fresh egg he gets a little peckish. He eats a few bites and leaves the rest.

The average omnivore might think that I am imagining things, but I happen to be a taste connoisseur. I can copy recipes pretty good simply by tasting them (no recipe in hand). When I taste wine (or chocolate or coffee) I can honestly taste the spice, the bloom, the black cherry, the grapefruit. I KNEW when Cline Vineyards sold out and changed the grapes going into their Red Truck table wine, but it wasnt until over a year later that I finally got confirmation that the Red Truck of 5 years ago is not the same Red Truck vinted today. In other words, I am absolutely certain, that fresh farm eggs TASTE BETTER than factory farmed eggs, even Certified Humane, but still factory farmed eggs.

However, fresh farm (urban or country) eggs not only taste better, they are better for you. In fact any animal product that comes from an animal that eats a natural diet, getting in some greens (usually grass), some bugs or other foods from nature, has a different balance of fats and proteins than the same animal products factory farmed cousins. Wild venison, grass fed beef, and eggs from the little farm down the road are characterized by an increase in Omega 3 fats, a decrease in Saturated fats, and an increase in lean protein. This is because similar to the obese American, modern livestock were not meant to live on corn and soy. Corn and soy may fill you up and out, but growth in itself is not always good. Especially growth that involves excess fat.

But again, I digress, so back to chickens. I love farm chickens (urban or country) for their quirky personality, the beauty of their plumage and their ability to bond with small children. In fact, 4-H recommends that kids who want to get involved in livestock, but who have little experience raise poultry. We are what we eat (literally) and yet our culture is frighteningly disconnected from our food. Many today cant cook from scratch or think that cooking from scratch means opening a boxed mix and adding eggs and oil. Others dont even bother to use their kitchen allowing strangers to feed them 3 square (or not so square) meals per day.

And thus, perhaps I should not be in total shock that my city (Longmont, CO) is coming upon strong resistance when it comes to approving an ordinance to allow urban chickens. And yet, surrounding cities, which are arguably MORE urban than Longmont (Boulder, Denver & Fort Collins) already allow urban chickens. As does the great city of New York (seriously), as well as, other hip towns like Portland and Seattle.

For some reason, a good number of probably nice folks in Longmont, think that the approval of the urban hen will send Longmont to the dogs. Others are afraid that chickens will attract predators like fox and coyotes, which already happen to live in good numbers in our city (I see a fox and coyote on a regular basis in Longmont). Others think chickens smell (they dont) or that they are noisy (roosters are, but not chickens). Whats more they are concerned about the mess.

Cooped chickens dont poop in their neighbors yard and they dont bark at raccoons after midnight; however, they do provide those yummy, golden yolks that my family genuinely appreciates. Now given all this, I am not sure that I personally am prepared to start my own little brood of laying hens, but I do think that I should have the legal right to do so. If the ordinance is not approved, I will mark it down as another strike in my book against Longmont. (Badly maintained bike paths and sidewalks, lack of safe bike routes for families, lack of good public transportation, and no alcohol at city sponsored events are other strikes in my book.) In other words, when it comes time for my son to start Kindergarten in a few years and we come up on our familys deadline to reassess whether we stay or movethe ability to raise chickens will weigh in more heavily than you might assume.

If I can have chickens in Lafayette, Boulder, Niwot, Erie, Denver, Loveland or Fort Collins why should I not be able to keep them in Longmont? And if most of these cities also have better public transportation, bikeways and pedestrian ways, then we will likely move. Honestly, Longmont, by not supporting this ordinance, you are being a stick in the mud!

What can we do?

Well, the Crunchy Domestic Goddess has started a Chicken Crusade and I am happily going a long for the ride. In a few days we should have a site up (Longmont Urban Hens) and we are working to organize anyone and everyone who supports urban hens in Longmont to show up at the City Council meeting in December. In addition, if you live in Longmont and support urban hens, please dont delay in writing our city council members and tell them why they need to approve the urban hen ordinance. You can find Longmont City Council contact info (includin email addresses) behind this link. In general we are looking to be as POSITIVE about chickens as possible. We also want to educate folks about the realities of raising chickens (the good and the bad), while acknowledging that urban hens are as much pets as they are providers of yummy eggs.

EcoMom Series #3.3 Shop Organic

We often associate the word organic with food products, but it can also be used to reference clothing, beauty care products and more. The key to reading labels, is understanding that organic food products (and claims) are regulated by the FDA. Other organic claims are not regulated; so, when buying anything organic that does not sport the USDA organic seal, make sure that you know and trust your supplier. Also check the ingredient list (if available) and see how many truly organic ingredients have been included.

There are many reasons to buy organic, the first and foremost being your families health (who wants to ingest chemicals, especially those that are known carcinogens or worse). Yet another reason to buy organic is the health of the planet. Pesticides can pollute soil and ground water, as well as, damage local flora and fauna. Genetically modified plants (GMO) can cross pollinate with non-GMO plants and also interfere with the development of other flora and fauna.

Many folks think that organic plants and foods are more expensive to grow and produce. In some ways this is true as it is difficult to mass produce or skimp on an organic product. However, keep in mind that although a yard of pesticide intensive organic cotton may be cheaper to produce up front than a yard of organic cotton the opportunity cost and ultimately the real cost of the pesticide intensive cotton will likely be much higher.

Some plants tend to require more pesticides than others and so are more pesticide intensive. Cotton and strawberries are two of my favorite examples. The cultivation of cotton is estimated to account for 25% of total pesticide use world wide and in the US alone, five of the most common cotton pesticides are known carcinogens. If you want to put your money where it counts do your best to encourage companies to use and support organic cotton!

Strawberries are believed to be one of the most pesticide intensive crops in the state of California and one of the most common pesticides used on strawberries (to kill soil borne disease) is Methyl bromide, which can be inhaled and according to the EPA is an acute toxin (or deadly chemical). Other pesticides used on strawberries are absorbed into the fruit, which is mostly water thus making it so that you cant just wash the strawberry off. This is evidenced by recent tests in which it was found that 90% of strawberries sold contained 36 different pesticides!

According to the Green Guide the following foods are organic must buys as they consistently show the highest levels of toxic (and or illegal) pesticide residues:

  • strawberries
  • rice
  • grains
  • milk
  • corn
  • bananas
  • green beans
  • apples
  • peaches/nectarines
  • grapes/raisins

Another point to keep in mind if you choose NOT to buy organic, is to only buy conventional produce that was grown in the US or Canada. Many South American countries from whom we import food have more lax standards and regulations when it comes to pesticide use. And, although they supposedly do not use certain banned pesticides on foods grown for sale in the US, random test  on various foods, such as bananas and grapes, show otherwise!

And, a common myth of organic food is that it goes bad more quickly or that it is naturally damaged. This is just not true. If you buy organic produce that goes bad quickly, it simply means that it was on the shelf (or in storage) for too long before the store put it out for you to buy. In fact fresh picked organic produce often lasts longer than conventional produce, precisely because it usually travels a shorter distance from farm to table. And, most organic food ripens on the plant and is thus not treated with gas to encourage ripening. This is why your slightly green organic bananas often taste ripe, when the same green conventional banana would still taste unripe.

In addition, when buying locally grown produce, dont automatically pass it up simply because it does not carry an organic label. Many smaller farmers may choose not to use pesticides, but they dont pay for certification. Or in the case, for example, of an apple orchard, they may spray once in the spring before the fruit forms, but not again, this helps protect their fruit, but it is unlikely any residue will show up in or on your fruit.

One more reason to support organic, is that many organic farmers understand the interconnectedness of life and so they not only dont use pesticides, but they have other farming practices that also work to protect life on earth rather than defeat, tame or damage it. One of the best stories Ive heard of late was from a friend who is an organic farmer in Sebastopol, CA.

Paul has a friend who raises cattle and chickens, both free range, grass fed. He starts his cows out on a pasture until the grass is short. He then moves the cows to the next pasture, while leaving the old pasture to fallow (cow dung and all) for about a week (the time it takes fly eggs to hatch and grow into larvae). He then moves his chickens into the pasture. They scratch through the cow dung to eat some nice protein filled larvae, poop on the grass (chicken poo is an awesome fertilizer) and they eat a little grass (calcium, omega 3s and more). After he moves the chickens on to the next pasture the grass grows thick, green and tall making it perfect for the next round of cattle grazing. No pesticides, added fertilizers or feeds involved. Just mother nature and human cultivation working in harmony!

What have you eaten?

One of the great things about eating local (wherever you go) is that local foods often have a lot of variety and built in creativity that results in the delivery of everything from important nutrients to alcohol. Over time, certain things have become delicacies and other items (depending on where you live) are everyday dishes. GreenStyleMom just shared her take on this meme and since we just got back from a short camping trip and my son has simultaneously decided to skip his morning nap, I thought Id also have a little fun. (Instead of writing a serious blog post or getting other serious work done!)

It would be fun to see what youve eaten, so if you do this meme (either by blog or email) drop me a line or post a comment with a link and let me know!

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.

2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.

4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at http://www.verygoodtaste.co.uk/uncategorised/the-omnivores-hundred/ linking to your results.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses (maybe? Ive had a lot of French cheese over the years)
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes (fejoa, elder berry)
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat (I dont do goat, even sacrificial goat, so no curry either.)
42. Whole insects (Once tried a chocolate covered ant)
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whiskey from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more (This and the cognac/cigar combo are thanks to my husband in his bachelor days.)
46. Fugu Nah (are you kidding? I like sushi, but this takes it to an entirely different level!)
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut. (Mine was colddidnt see what the big deal is!)
50. Sea urchin (First time was raw straight from the ocean in Madagascar with lime kind of like doing a tequila shot.)
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal (Must admit that when these first came out and I was under 10 they were absolutely delish!)
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini (Ive had a sip of a gin martini, but only every finished a vodka one. My mom is allergic to juniper, so Ive in general stayed away.)
58. Beer above 8% ABV (Had a 10.5 Imperial stout of some sort on Monday husband made a mixed 6 pack for our camping trip. And, yes we brought the bottles back to recycle them and we made sure the camp fire was completely out!)
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips (I like them okay, but NOT as a substitute for chocolate. Carob is its own deal.)
61. S’mores (Of course! Why else go camping?)
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin (not that I am aware of, but sounds like it has interesting insecticidal properties.)
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette.
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini (separately? maybe?)
73. Louche absinthe (helps to have a roommate with family in Eastern Europe!)
74. Gjetost, or brunost (I don’t think so)
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu (Uh yes, I wondered for a while why many Malagasy carried white vinegar with them all the timethen I had some. Fire water I tell you!)
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant (Don’t think so, looked up my best prospect and it is only a two star!)
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare (involuntarily as a kid thanks Dad!)
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

And a friend just asked me why I had lemon curd in my ice box! Do you know what else I have in my ice box? How about some grattons de canard à léchalote the next time you come over?

Return to the old ways and a gentle reminder

As we all know there has been a resurgence in young women (such as myself) learning to can. Every attempt is a learning experience from start to finish. And, eating the canned goods is always a treat! Another great experience is sharing the canned goods with friends and family.

Sharing the bounty is an act that should eventually bring the joyful and tasty experience full circle, when the recipient returns the glass jar to the owner. Returning the jars (versus recycling them or cramming them in your cupboard) ensures that when the next round of canning or the next seasons arrives, the canner has a full stock of jars at her (his) disposal.

Returning the jars makes both ECOnomic and ECOfriendly sense, as it saves the canner fuel in making a run to the store to by new jars; it saves the energy and resources required to make new jars; it saves the canner money invested in jars; and, it lets the canner know that you enjoyed the goods and want more!

So, if you have received any canned goods from a friend or family member, when you are finished, be sure to return the jar(s)!

Have a wonderful weekend I will update you with my activities, which include make and decorating another 1st Birthday cake (for a good friend) and canning pears and more tomato sauce!

P.s. You guessed it! This post was motivated by my lack of jars! Ive already bought 3 sets this year, but am finding myself to small jars short of what Id like to can today!