Fall and Yarn (and food)

It’s so beautiful out in East TN!

Today I sat on my patio and crocheted a scarf and hat

I don’t use patterns for the scarves and hats I make.. I just pick some yarn and let inspiration take over.

While I crocheted these items, I made a ground beef and vegetable soup:

Brown 1/2 lb ground beef, add chopped onions until cooked. 3-4 small potatoes sliced, 1 and 1/2 cups of spinach, and a maybe 1/2 C of lentils, add water, cook until all items are cooked. I added salt, pepper, and garlic for spices — YUM!

I also used my bread machine to make Raisin/Cherry bread and mixed up some vanilla almond milk and confectioner’s sugar for icing. Wouldn’t it be great if bread machines could make more than one loaf at a time?

Grocery Shopping at Earth Fare

This morning some doula clients of mine gave me a $40 gift card to Earth Fare, which is just about the perfect gift anyone could give me. (Thanks B and H!) I had already planned to go grocery shopping today, so I headed to the Turkey Creek location of Earth Fare with plans to try to stay close to the amount of the gift card for my total expenditure.

Nope. I went over by more than double.

It’s ok, though. I came home with 3 lbs of natural, free-range, antibiotic/hormone free chicken thighs and legs for less than $5. I got 2 lbs of natural ground beef, which will be made into meatloaf tonight, along with the organic asparagus.

Other items I purchased:

Organic eggplant
Organic bananas
Organic green onions
Capers
Feta cheese
2 things of Tofu
2 Cartons of Almond Milk
2 Cartons of Kefir (oh, I love Kefir!)
2 boxes of Earth Fare’s brand of shells and cheese
2 cans of tahini (hummus, anyone?)
3 types of vitamins/supplements (one is a liquid calcium/magnesium/zinc/vit D/potassium blend in liquid form)

So while the total bill was $92.00, I really feel I got my money’s worth to get healthy food plus some supplements we needed. I’ll just try to go easier on the rest of the food budget for the month. I can’t wait to make something eggplanty and delicious.

Whole Wheat Pasta Casserole

Yesterday I made my “famous” chicken and dumplings for dinner (I’ll share the recipe at a later time). In order to make this, I get a small whole chicken and boil it in a large stockpot as the base for the chicken and dumplings. Then I take the carcass and immediately put it in the slow cooker (couldn’t imagine life without my slow cooker) and fill it with water. 24 hours later, I have this:

 

Gorgeous, beautiful, homemade chicken broth. Imagine how much use you can get from one small chicken!  Part of it was used in tonight’s dinner. I had bought a box of whole wheat rotini pasta from Big Lots ( a good place to score random gourmet food items) for $1. I began boiling the pasta and sauteed some onions and chicken sausage together. When the pasta was finished, I put it in my favorite casserole dish, spread the onions and sausage in, then added fresh kale, frozen corn, and olive oil, garlic, and a spice for use on grilled chicken. I grated some Sharp Cheddar cheese on top — and then ladled a few ladles of my fresh chicken broth into the dish. This is how it looked before it went into the oven.

I baked it on 350* for about 30-40 minutes. It was delicious. The chicken sausage could have been a little spicier, in my opinion, but it’s what I had in the freezer from a previous purchase from Angel Food Ministries.

Hello world!

Indeed, hello, world!

We are a family of three humans (two adults, one teen), and a full house of furry friends (four rescue dogs, two rescue cats, and a guinea pig). We strive to treat our earth respectfully, responsibly, and with love. We live in beautiful East TN in a modest home and enjoy frugal living, healthy eating, exercise, fresh air, animals, and time spent together.

After a recent guest post on Frugalissa Finds about our grocery budget of $150 per month, I have decided to blog a bit about some of our frugal ways, and maybe a few of our adventures! When I have time, I love to cook and decorate and be crafty (even though my crafting abilities are more experiments than artisan).

My name is Kimberly and I am a doula and a childbirth educator. Having spent 11 years witnessing the miracle of pregnancy and birth has taught me to trust the universe and believe in natural things, ways, and lifestyles. My husband, Derek, is a teacher currently not teaching after falling victim to our area school budgets. He works at a large, local company that manufactures homes. Our daughter is a high schooler.

We have four dogs, as I mentioned. Derek had one when I met him, a Cairn Terrier. I had two when we met, a Miniature Pinscher, and an Italian Greyhound. Shortly after our marriage in 2008 we took in a Jack Russell Terrier that my brother found lost in a live animal trap. A friend gave us two guinea pigs when her guinea pig she had just adopted turned up pregnant and had babies. Sadly, one of them lived only a year. In May of 2010 we adopted a kitten and an older cat from our local animal shelter. That’s our family, although we occasionally also have a snail terrarium, or a feral cat or two outside.

We have a large rain barrel and two compost bins (one for large items, one for smaller items). We have an organic garden and try to expand it a little each year. We live in a subdivision in a fairly urban area or else I would have some goats and chickens, too. We are always looking for more ways to be healthy, conscious, aware, and protective of the earth. There is more work to do, but it’s a start!