Sunday, October 24, 2010

Turning my Attention to Food

My husband and I have been talking a lot about food lately, mostly in the context of budget and health. On Friday night we watched Food, Inc. I wish we hadn’t waited so long to watch it, but then again maybe it was the perfect time to watch it in conjunction with the discussions we have been having. The movie helped us to solidify some new goals- basically, to spend less money on more healthy food. So on Saturday morning the kids and I went to the farmers’ market.

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As you can see, Ryan was proud of our produce purchases. Look at all that yummy local, organic produce that we got for just $32! The meat included a large whole chicken, 2 bone-in chicken breasts, and a cross-rib roast.  It was hard to fork over $44 for the meat. Last week, I bought the same size chicken on sale at Raley’s for $4.07 (at the farmers’ market it was $19!). Thankfully, Food, Inc. convinced us that quality is more important than price. We are used to eating meat everyday, we may have to re-examine that in the near future. I love how the documentary reminded us that we can make a difference, we vote on these issues three times a day!

When we got home from the market I had to tweak this weeks’ meal plan (you never can be certain what you’ll find fresh). Laying our purchases all out on the counter not only made for a great photo op, but it helped me to plan to make sure that we were going to use everything we bought. We waste far too much food! As an item was included in a planned meal I put it away. At the same time I made a short list of additional items that we still need from the store.

It’s only Sunday, and I’ve already spent a lot of time and energy on this weeks’ food (and I haven’t even cooked the meals yet). The planning will get easier each week. Soon we will be spending less money on food, supporting farmers and companies that deserve our support, wasting less food, and eating more healthy meals!


Friday, October 15, 2010

My Little Pink Owl


When I saw an owl costume on Ucreate yesterday I couldn’t resist. I had to act quickly because we had a Halloween party to attend tonight! Thankfully, this costume was incredibly easy. I love to attempt stuff like this, but my intentions are much greater than my actual skills. This was all just cutting and gluing :)

As you can see I modified the original idea to not be on a hooded sweatshirt. It was ninety degrees here this evening for the party and I knew she wouldn’t keep the hood on anyways. I glued everything (which saved me an hour in digging out all my sewing stuff). Plus, I had extra single feathers cut out, so I glued those on the arms.  In total the costume cost me $13 and 80 minutes!!

Ella loves her super cute costume! She’s adored owls ever since our owl week in January.  She has an owl themed bedroom. She even had an owl birthday party in April.


I can’t forget to mention my handsome policeman also attended the party tonight!


Look how much they’ve grown since last year!


Can you tell I’ve enjoyed looking back at pictures of my kids tonight ;) Thanks for admiring them!


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ryan’s Awesome New Bed


It’s finally finished!!! I don’t think our Super Daddy is going to be lured into such a grand project for quite a while…

We were enticed when we found the plans, and the momma builder said it took less than $120 and 15 hours. Well ours took about $15o and 100 hours (no that’s not an extra zero)!!! It was a lot of pieces to cut and sand. Then each piece needed a coat of kilz, 2 coats of paint, and two coats  of polyurethane. It’s hard to tell from the pictures but it’s about 5.5 feet tall- we can still tuck him in without climbing up. Anyways, it’s done and it looks amazing!

Ryan thinks it’s the coolest thing in the world. We put his book shelf underneath with a bean bag chair and some rope lights along the inner edge of the bed.

Thanks Super Daddy!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup

Fall weather is just beginning in Northern California! I LOVE to cook in the cooler weather. Soups, stews, baked grains, so many healthy delicious recipes to choose from!

My friend, Jennifer, graciously shared a recipe for butternut squash last fall. After tweaking it to make it a bit healthier it has become a staple at our house! today with 1/2 the oil and no half-and-half and it was still amazingly good. Thanks Jennifer!

2 Tbs. honey

2 Tbs. canola oil or other light vegetable oil

2 butternut squashes (about 3 lbs.), halved lengthwise and seeded

2 yellow onions quartered

2 Granny Smith apples peeled, quartered, and cored

5 C chicken stock (I make my own)

salt and pepper (fresh)

1/4 tsp. fresh nutmeg

Preheat oven to 450. Combine honey and oil in a small bowl. Line a shallow baking dish with foil and arrange squash, onion, and apple on it. Brush with oil/honey mixture. Bake for about 1 hour turning pieces at least once until all pieces are tender and well browned.

Remove from oven, let cool, then scoop out flesh and chop coarsely. Chop onions and apple.

In a soup pot, combine squash, apple, onion, stock, salt 1/2 tsp, pepper 1/2 tsp., and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 20 minutes.

In a blender or food processor-puree soup in batches until smooth (I use my immersion blender). Adjust taste with salt and pepper.

Enjoy! There will be a lot more recipes coming your way this fall!