Free grass-fed beef? Yowsa!

A give-away for grass-fed steaks delivered to your door! Go to http://www.grassfedparty.org/ or http://www.foodrenegade.com/la-cense-grass-fed-beef-giveaway/ to sign up. Cool!

Wheat-free chicken livers. Yum!

I made some chicken livers a few days that dd liked so I thought I’d share! I plan to make these again this weedend because I felt like my body needs the nutriet-denseness of the livers. We don’t use wheat flour because of my anti-grain stance so I used coconut flour. YMMV.

  • about 3/4-1 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2-1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sage
  • 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning (I had the Frontier version from the co-op)
  • 1 egg
  • several Tbsp bacon grease (ours is from the whole pastured pork I bought a few months ago)
  • 2 cups chicken stock

Mix spices with coconut flour while melting several Tbsp bacon grease over medium (ADD moment: it drives me nuts when recipes don’t tell you what temperature to use. I’m always afraid I’m going to burn something.). Dip livers in egg then dredge in flour mixture. Fry for no more than 5 minutes,turning as needed! This is important! You want the insides to still be pretty pink. That way, it won’t be so dry.

After frying livers, melt a little more bacon grease and cook leftover coconut flour (up to 2 Tbsp) for about 1 minute. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil while stirring. Continue boiling until it reduces to desired thickness (about half for me).

I plate the livers and add sauce as needed so that it doesn’t get overwhelming. Enjoy!

These also make handy finger-held snacks without the sauce. They’re not too dry to eat alone since they’re not cooked to death.

Head-banging financial issues.

My issues are much more than financial. I think I need… I don’t know what! Help! I have this desperate drive to store food and supplements/medicines that is not funny, but it makes me feel so out of control.

So this is what I did on one day (ONE DAY!) last week:

1. First stop, the Farmer’s Co-op. Bought a 50 lb bag of rabbit feed for times when I can’t find veggies for them and a 50 lb bag of baking soda (save much money on your house cleaning, baking, bathing for the rest of your life!). Spent about $23.

2. On to the “apple store”. Close to the end of the season so I got 20 lb of yellow delicious apples for about $13. Running total: $36.

3. I joined Sam’s Club after checking it out. Luckily I could get a business membership for only $35 instead of $40. But then I went the first day and spent $200! On food, but still. Running total: $271.

4. Next stop: grocery store with a BOGO sale on Nature Made vitamins. Spent about $48, but saved a little over $20. Running total: $319.

5. Next stop was Rite-Aid because I could combine coupons and rebates. For example, they had a rebate on Sambucol for $3, I had a $4 coupon (get on their email list at www.sambucol.com), resulting in the price for the first one being $5.99 and $8.99 for the second one I bought. Got a little bit more there for a total of about $61. Running total: $380.

6. Local health food store (co-op) for lots of eggs, beef and buffalo jerky (trying out different flavors to see what we would like to get), and supplements (mostly anti-virals) for a total of (drum-roll) $224! Running total: $604. (Are you feeling faint yet?)

7. Thanks to all that’s holy the day is almost done. Costco is last with a measly total of about $35 – fresh fruit/veggies with a box of madeleines (no “fake” stuff: ingredients are butter, sugar, eggs, enriched flour, vanilla extract, salt). I don’t like to buy him cookies because I think it sets a bad example. Also, he snacks on them so they’re not kept as a desert or treat. DD then thinks of them as something to snack on when she’s at the computer. If I put them away when he’s not here, it’s not too bad – I can frequently redirect her. The problem is me remembering to put them away for sure he won’t. Anyway, back to business. Running total: $639.

So $640 in one day, plus the gas to drive around. Ask me how I know the accuraccy of the totals while I’m sitting here at the breakfast table. I don’t have the receipts with me; I went to my credit card’s website and looked them up! That’s right. Everything but Sam’s and Costco went to making my hole deeper. So I can pay 10% interest for a stocked pantry/medicine cabinet.

Was it worth it? I don’t know. I guess if you look at the world right now, just today, maybe not. If you are looking back on this post from 6 months in the future, who knows? I try to console myself that all of these things that I’m buying will be used. I just wish I had the actual cash to pay for them, as well as the self-control to “just say No!” when I don’t have the cash.

Oh, yeah. I also had to pay $21.20 in late fees to the library on Wednesday. They charge $1 per day(!) for DVDs and we had out 10. Tough way to be reminded to pay attention.

Sunday is the last Sunday of February and Goodwill has 50% off on clothes. I want to finish sizes 5 and 7 for DD (does size 7 usually fit pretty much like size 8 or only if the clothing is marked 7/8? Anybody?) and have to get some dress pants for NS-DH for his new business. Guess how I’ll be paying if we go over $40? It ain’t over yet!

This Sunday will be the next-to-last hurrah for the big spending. I have one more planned purchase that I’m trying to get done as soon as possible but the item keeps going out of stock. I hope to get that done within the next 2 weeks. Then I’ll be done. Stick-a-fork-in-me done. After that I’llbe trying to no-spend as much as possible.

Financial gains and pains.

Let’s see. February 2 I found 16 dozen organic eggs that had January 29 listed as their expiration dates. One dozen were broken but I got to use about 6 dozen before they finally went bad. Also, I didn’t think about it ahead of time, but I think the store (Food Lion) injected bleach into a couple of eggs in each dozen so I threw away the ones I had frozen. So we got mostly good eggs but just had to be careful and smell each one.

About 1.5 weeks later we found some organic yogurt they (Food Lion had thrown out) that had either just expired or, in the case of a large Stoneyfield tub, had a crack in the plastic lid. The Stonyfield tub had a month left on the expiration and, you guessed it, they injected bleach into it.

Bottom line – be very careful diving at Food Lion.

Still not getting many veggies at the cheap grocery store I always check and it’s been hit or miss at the co-op since so many other people take theirs. You have to show up pretty much about 10 minutes after they close usually to get anything.

Now for the really painful part. I thought we had saved enough money to pay our real estate taxes in cash. Nope. Not even close. We had an ING savings account I set up just for the taxes and had about 75% saved as of January. Between my NSDH getting suspended then demoted, and having to put my doggie to sleep, we had about 40% left over at the end of January. I transferred that to our checking account at the end of January to pay it in February and it all went away. All of it. I managed to spend about $400 extra between homeschool curriculum, clothes for dd (including dress-up), and large blueberry bushes. I don’t feel too bad about the bushes since they will provide food, but I feel REALLY bad about not controlling myself on the other stuff. In just 2 days of slipping, after a few weeks of not really spending much, I crashed us. It wasn’t enough to pay off the real estate taxes but it would have helped me feel better about myself.

I ended up putting the real estate taxes on my credit card. It was going to be delinguent as of March 1 so I didn’t really have any choice at this point. Somehow, I now have to ring enough out of the budget (and control myself) to come up with the next payment by June as it’s due in July.

For March, our budget includes: $650 for real estate taxes, $10 for the emergency fund (don’t know what kind emergency will be handled by that but it’s a start), and $200 for groceries. We are paying the balance on a half-hog in March so I’m hoping we’ll have a little bit left over afterward. Hmm, maybe I should send the farmer an email and get an estimate on it.

Hopefully, the weather will get a bit nicer and the utility bills will go down a lot for April. (Please, please, please.)

Almost grain-free!

I still need work but I’ve only a had few Valentine’s day cookies over 2 days during the last week. I don’t remember any other grains. Still very high carb, but my husband has been home on “vacation” so maybe now that he’s gone back that will get better too (as in, “I need sugar to comfort me. When is he going to leave?!”) ;-D

I’m trying to get ahead on keeping meat cooked. If I have yummy, meaty goodness around to eat then I’ll be less likely to go after the candy in the freezer. Mmmm, beeeeeeeef.

Tasty ground beef recipe that 3.5 year-old dd likes coming soon!

Saving on groceries and pet food (with flower pics).

One thing that has helped keep the grocery/pet food bill down quite a bit is (drumroll) dumster diving.

It’s not as bad as it sounds. Our local health food co-op has a bin out back where they put there “trash” veggies and fruit to be picked up for compost. The food is not loose – they put it in a trash bag. Sometimes it’s there, sometimes they’ve already been picked clean. I was told by an employee that other people who goats  and some with chickens also come by to pick up from there. Usually it’s greens (kale, turnip, lettuce), outer celery stalks that broke off, lots of citrus right now that starts to go soft before being picked, and the occassional apple with a bruise or hole poked in it. This one I’m less concerned about us eating it.

The other store I pick up from is a conventional grocery store. The food is thrown out loose in boxes. We usually will only eat from bagged items from this place (e.g. bagged apples, celery or carrots).  We give the rest of it to the bunnies.

Something I’ve noticed recently is that both stores are throwing out less food. Or maybe less is there by the time we get there. I’m a little concerned about what that means for the economy – if either the stores are putting out less food because they’re trying to save money (not a bad idea) or if more people are resorting to DD to put food on the table (scarier thougtht!).

We found a 3rd store that we tried last night. Not too many veggies picked up – only enough for 1 day, but dd was hollering for me to get back in the car because she wanted to go inside (the beginning of the hollering *sigh*). Note to self: try not to go to store without taking a nap first!

We did get some boxes of pancake mix that syrup had spilled all over. I can’t salvage the boxes but I’m going to repack the mix into a vacuum storage bag tonight. We don’t usually eat pancakes (I’m trying to be as grain-free as possible), but when you’re looking in dumsters to save a buck on food, you might want to save what you can’t use for the lean(er) times. Or to trade with someone else later on.

We also got 3 bunches of flowers! A very pretty yellow bunch with a few purple and pink accents that I’m sitting in front of typing, a dozen red roses, and a dozen pink-edged roses with greenery and a vase. They had not even dumped the water out of the vase before tossing it! Unbelievable! I really think they brighten up the house quite a bit.

We’ll be going out again tonight or tomorrow night in search of more fruits and veggies. Snow or no snow the buns have to eat and since the offspring that don’t sell as pets will be used as food, I need to keep them all fed and healthy.

So far, so good!

I have not spent any money Saturday, Sunday or today (Monday)! Go, me!

Food today will include leftover chicken wings and oatmeal for breakfast, hamburgers for lunch, and duck with asparagus and cranberry sauce for dinner. Mmmm, duck. I’m never going back to chicken. We have one chicken left in the freezer and that’s it. There’s so much more lucious fat on the duck, it’s crazy good!

I normally don’t eat grains but I’m kind of one a kick the past few days. Between putting my dog to sleep, my husband getting demoted and our other stream of “income” (loan money from the in-laws) being cut off, I’m allowing a few days of wallowing in the grains. I hope to get back to grain free by the weekend.