Simply put, the b is for budget, but the beat is about the rhythm of our life. And, eating local whenever possible.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Still On Budget & Staying Local

(Wish I could share more pictures, but what I am sure will be many misadventures in blogging, I deleted them before making sure they were saved.)

We spent last Sunday visiting apple orchards in North Georgia.  It is becoming a fun tradition for us.  We came home with three pecks of apples (Splendor, Granny Smith, Stayman Winsap, Pink Lady, & Black Arkansas) after visiting Mercier, Hillcrest, and BJ Reece Orchards.  I know that sounds like a lot for two people, but I love the variety at the apple houses!  I had never heard of Stayman or Black Arkansas before last year.  

Mercier Orchards has another crisp variety that is perfect for snacking.  It is called a Limber Twig, but sadly it isn't available yet.  We may have a lot to eat, but apples stay fresh longer than say a peach, and they are great in sweet and savory dishes.  This is a local opportunity for yummy fall dishes on a budget.  Last year, we had apples through Thanksgiving, and my husband dehydrated some for snacking.  I am looking forward to those again this year.       

My happiest and most unexpected find was a bunch of collard greens the size of my upper body (picture casualty) for two dollars at BJ Reece Apple House!!  They also had budget friendly prices on sweet potatoes (also at Mercier), tomatoes, and a carving pumpkin.  I broke down, steamed, and filled four dishes with greens. Three are in the freezer for later, but I couldn’t resist using some with eggs for breakfast and tossed with walnuts and vinegar for a quick lunch. 

I knew sticking to the budget in October would be difficult.  I contemplated starting the blog later because of it, but that didn’t feel ethical.   So, drum roll please… after three weeks I have spent $190 on groceries.  That leaves $70 to get through the month!  The best part is that I still have plenty of ingredients to make meals for a couple more days.  We had a couple unexpected 2nd day meals with the carrot soup and curried okra and snap beans. Our version of local eating isn’t totally farm-to-table yet, but it does feel good knowing that we can buy many foods sourced near home or from local markets.  By Spring, we may be totally local for vegetables and meats.  

A pity picture: Today’s 3-minute lunch.  What you see here is what you get.  The cucumbers are the last of my quick pickles.  I made a quick dressing over cabbage, tomatoes, and fresh corn with the brining vinegar.  

I try to keep shredded cabbage (typically red) in the refrigerator.  A head can cost as little as a dollar, but rarely more than a few.  I use it in quick salads like this, or as a toss-in under beans and other saucy dishes.  It is a ready vegetable and well worth the 15 minutes with a mandolin and salad spinner.

Here is a recipe for pumpkin grits.  Sorry the picture was another one gobbled up by my nimble clicks to the trash bin.

Pumpkin Grits
Serves 2, 40 minutes

I use Logan Turnpike Mill grits. They are stone ground and cook creamy with little to no butter.    Make grits for two as instructed on the package, but with about 1 tablespoon of butter.
After grits are cooked add:
½ c. pumpkin puree
¼ tsp. cinnamon, scant
¼ tsp. ginger, scant
couple shakes of cayenne and coriander
salt and pepper to taste

Stir and serve.  Garnish with toasted walnuts.   

We eat this for breakfast or as a side dish for dinner.  We also enjoy pumpkin pie oatmeal.  Follow same technique, but use pumpkin pie spice and omit the other spices.  Hope you enjoy it!

1 comment:

  1. This pumpkin grits recipe looks divine! Can't wait to try it!