Monthly Archives: March 2009

Sustainable Food Budget Challenge

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Crunchy Chicken has convinced me to join another challenge.  In this challenge, we’re supposed to try to buy healthy, sustainable food while limiting spending to what we would get in food stamps.  For the two people in our house, that would be $323 per month.  Currently, our weekly grocery bill this time of year has been about $150, since we eat breakfast at home, bring lunches to work, and eat most suppers at home, too.  That number goes down in the summer because all of our fruits and veggies are grown at home or at my family’s farm. 

We’re supposed to buy sustainable food, which can be local, organic, sustainably grown, etc.  I personally classify food based on my own set of sustainability requirements, in the following hierarchy:

  1. Grown, raised, caught, or made by family or friends.  We grow a lot of our own veggies in season, get fruits and veggies from my family’s farm, both our families make maple syrup, Ed’s family raises pigs and now will also be raising turkeys (more on that soon!), we have beef in the freezer from Ed’s cousin, my aunt and uncle make honey, Ed catches fish and shellfish, etc.
  2. Locally grown and family farmed.  I buy milk and eggs that are hormone and antibiotic free under the brand “Farmer’s Cow” which is a co-op of Connecticut farmers.  Their eggs are great, and until I get my own chickens, they’re the best I’ve found.  I also frequent farmer’s markets in season, to get what we don’t produce ourselves.
  3. Natural, humane, organic when available, if #1 and #2 aren’t possible.

There are a few things I avoid: food shipped long distances from other countries, expensive packaged food.  Of course there are exceptions (chocolate!!!), but I do the best I can.  I also try to make things on my own instead of buying them (like tortillas, pasta, pizza dough), since it’s healthier and saves money, too.

I plan to go to a monthly farmer’s market with my mom on Saturday, and we’ll see what we can get there. 

Do I think we’ll stick to the $323? Nope! But I’m going to try.  The cost of living is high here, and the number doesn’t seem to account for that.  By relying on foods we’ve frozen or preserved in season, we’ll keep costs down, and we’ll also clear out the cupboards in preparation for the new season.  No matter what, I’m sure we’ll eat well and at least save a little money this month.

Are you joining this challenge? Do you have any tips for me?

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Filed under Food, Living from Scratch, Local Agriculture, Sustainable Living

Pansy

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While cooking supper, the late afternoon sun on the pansies caught my eye.  Shortly after I took this photo, I saw a little white bug on one of the leaves.  Further inspection revealed more bugs.  I quickly mixed together a soapy water solution and sprayed it on the leaves.  I’m hoping it will work.  Just in case, do you have a home remedy? I was thinking of leaving it outside overnight, hoping the cold would do in the bugs.  Thoughts?

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Filed under Gardening, Home

Yummy Soil Model

Years ago, when I first started teaching the soil unit, I was looking for a way to make it more exciting.  The importance of soil structure is often lost on students, and I finally came up with a great idea: Soil Cake, modeled after the popular Dirt Cake my mom makes, a mixture of pudding, cake and whipped cream.

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Here’s how I make it, from bottom to top:

  • graham cracker crumbs- parent mineral material/ C horizon
  • butterscotch pudding- subsoil/ B horizon
  • graham cracker crumbs- eluviation layer/ E horizon
  • chocolate cake mixed with chocolate pudding, gummy worms hidden within- topsoil/ A horizon
  • crushed oreos- humus/ O horizon
  • dyed green cool whip and green sprinkles- plant material
  • gummy worms on top

It’s important to do this in a clear dish, so that you can see the layers.  It’s a great way to demonstrate the horizons of the soil, and you can modify it to look like the soil in your area.  I include thick layer of topsoil, because the chocolate is everyone’s favorite.

Another option is to have all the ingredients, and let people assemble it on their own so they can learn the layers as they make it.  I’ve done that before, but carting it separately into school was a pain, so I’ve gone back to this version.

Last year, when I was buying the ingredients to make these models, the teenage cashier asked what I was making.  When I explained it to her, she said “I wish you were my teacher!”  That made my day.

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Green and Rain

Walking around the edge of the forest today, I couldn’t help but notice the two sure signs of spring: the color green making its triumphant return, while the rain drizzled all around.

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Raindrops collect on the needles of a white pine.

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Droplets on a newly emerged tulip’s greenery.

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Daffodils slowly reach toward the sun.

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Drips on a recently sprouted, unidentified plants on the forest floor.

To see everyone else’s strolls today, visit the Quiet Country House.

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Filed under Home, Outside, Sustainable Living

Garlic Lime Roasted Turkey with Cornbread Chorizo Stuffing

We had some friends over last night and I decided to make a turkey.  I wanted to spice it up a little bit, and the results were really yummy.  I baked the stuffing separately so it didn’t take so long to cook.  The best part? The leftovers today.

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Garlic Lime Roasted Turkey

  • 10 lb turkey, rinsed and giblets removed
  • 1/2 stick softened butter
  • 2 cloved garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro or parsley
  • 2 limes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 head garlic, halved
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper

Mash together the butter, garlic, cilantro, 1 tsp lime juice and salt and pepper.  Loosen the skin around the turkey breast and spread the butter mixture on the meat, under the skin.  Season the inside of the turkey with salt and pepper.  Rub the olive oil on the outside of the turkey, then season with salt and pepper.  Squeeze the rest of the lime juice over the turkey, then place the lime halves, quartered onion and garlic halves in the cavity.  Bake at 350°F for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours, basting about every half-hour, until a thermometer reads 160° in the thickest part of the white meat.  Remove from oven and let rest, loosely covered, for about 20 minutes.

Cornbread Chorizo Stuffing

  • 1 link chorizo, skin removed, halved the long way and sliced thinly
  • 4 scallions, sliced
  • 1 bag herbed cornbread stuffing mix
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 1/2 cups water

In a dutch oven, brown chorizo.  Add scallions and cook for about a minute more.  Add butter and melt, then add water and bring to a boil.  Stir in stuffing mix until the liquid is absorbed.  Bake for 30-40 minutes alongside the turkey until the top is crusty, basting occasionally with the turkey juices.

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Belated Blogiversary

Last night, as I was looking back through my old posts here for inspiration for a post for the new Rose Orchards Farm Market blog, I realized something… March 24 was the 1 year blogiversary of Farmer’s Daughter!

As it turns out, I was busy on March 24 this year accepting an award for environmental leadership, so it makes sense that the blogiversary slipped my mind.  It was a great way to celebrate the occasion!

I was inspired to start this blog by my good friend Jessica, who writes Green Mamma.  At the time, I sent out an email about the upcoming green fashion show at school, and Jessica replied to me that she’d like to interview the coordinator, my student Kayla, on Green Mamma.  I started reading through Jessica’s articles and I was hooked.  I’ve always loved to write, and I decided to give blogging a try.

I started Farmer’s Daughter as a way to chronicle what we were doing at home.  My husband Ed and I had just gotten settled in our home, and I was adjusting to the free time I had since there was a lot less work to do around here.  When we were building, we’d spend so much time here on nights and weekends, not to mention that I was working on my first MS degree at the time, oh and teaching full time, too!  It was a crazy schedule, but I found that I was bored when it was all over.  Writing this blog has been a wonderful way for me to explore living sustainably, gardening, cooking, and my local food system.  I’ve gotten more involved in the community, picked up some crazy ideas, participated in challenges, and made some friends. 

Here are a few of my most memorable posts from the last year. 

Clear blue skies and a bright yellow sunflower.

Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing this journey with me!

Abbie

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Filed under Gardening, Home, Living from Scratch, Local Agriculture, Sustainable Living

Fresh Maine Shellfish

I just love fresh seafood.  So, when Ed’s parents brought home some shellfish from Maine, I was happy to disrupt the meal plan for the week.  A live, 2-lb lobster for Ed (I’m allergic) and fresh sea scallops.  I froze most of the scallops, but cooked enough for tonight and lunches tomorrow.  Scallops are my absolute favorite seafood, especially when they’re so fresh!  I couldn’t wait to share these recipes!

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Mom Marie’s Steamed Maine Lobster

Put about 2-3 inches of water in the bottom of a large pot.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Carefully remove the bands from the lobster’s claws, and drop head first into the boiling water and cover.  When water begins to boil again, set timer for 20 minutes.  Serve hot. 

I reserved the cooking water and shells to make lobster stock, too.

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Garlic and Bacon Crusted Sea Scallops

  • 2 strips thick bacon, chopped in large pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs (other breadcrumbs would be fine, too)
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs sea scallops, cleaned
  • lemon slices, to serve

Brown bacon in a frying pan, adding the garlic into the pan for the last minute or two of cooking.  Drain on a paper towel and allow to cool slightly.  Preheat oven to 400°F.  Coat the bottom of a pie tin or baking dish with the olive oil.  Remove the tough part from the edge of the scallops and arrange them in the pan.  Combine the butter, bacon, garlic, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper by mashing together with a fork.  Top the sea scallops with the butter mixture, and bake for 10-12 minutes until scallops are just cooked through.

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Filed under Food, Living from Scratch, Recipes, Sustainable Living