Saturday, October 22, 2011

On Cutting Back the Food Budget

I mentioned about a month ago that we were going to cut back our food budget in a major way. While we are making this decision from financial necessity, we also knew that it would benefit our health.

Here's my report:
- We have not been eating out at all!

- I have made a comparison pricing chart for foods in town. I have four columns: Aldi, Sam's Club, Dutch Bulk Foods, and other. I am eagerly filling it out when I am in stores hunting food bargains.

- We found "farm fresh" eggs in a neighboring town for only $1/dozen! The cheapest Wal-Mart carries are $1.88/doz, and the farm fresh are better! These of course are not given special (non-GMO) feed, but we cannot afford to be that picky at present ; )
- We are back on raw milk! We are able to get it delivered TO OUR HOUSE in glass jars for only $4/gallon! What a steal! Our milk man sells reasonably priced hormone-free, antibiotic free beef as well... we hope to begin purchasing that soon. And, we are having cream delivered to make butter.

 - In the last month I purchased 5 bushels of apples for canning/freezing. I haggled with the owner of the Dutch Bulk Food Stores to give me a reduced rate on Golden Delicious and Jonathon number ones. I ended up getting four boxes for the price of three! And, then a girlfriend called saying that she had some cheap Red Delicious from an Amish auction. So, I got just one bushel of those for only $10.50.

This was us processing the last 3 bushels y-day. (Click any pic to bring up the enlargements page). Nelson did a fantastic job helping! He ran the peeler/corer/slicer for hours! Rebecca watched the little ones and read them books. We did not let her help with the cooking, because she is sick.
Baby Josiah wasn't much help...

We made a vast amount of apple sauce.

And, today we have apple butter cooking in the crock pot.
Here is me filling the jars this morning.
I will can them when Paul comes home from work.

I can't imagine why I look so tired...

- We are baking our own bread again. I took about an eighteen month sabbatical from such work. But, between Rebecca and myself we should be able to keep the bread box filled. I did also make a trip to the bakery outlet a few weeks ago, but I would MUCH rather cook my own, thank you.

- We were able to get free pears last weekend. I have not processed them yet, because we have had our hands full of apples. But, we have been enjoying them raw! And, they are still plenty hard and will keep till Monday.

- We are buying very little processed foods at present. Again, this is largely from necessity. But, still, I am happy that we ran out of taco shells and tortillas. We know how to make tortillas, if we get desperate enough.

- We are not buying any soda or juice. We are only drinking milk, water, and coffee.

- We are all eating much smaller portions to make food stretch farther. This has significantly helped my heartburn! In fact, I intentionally leave the table hunger every night so that I (hopefully) won't have to take any antacids before bed. (Antacids deplete my vitamin D.)

- As you might expect, my chubbiest little man (Nelson) has really slimmed down! He has noticed and he feels good about it. The rest of us are looking more healthy too. And, don't worry, I am still gaining just the right amount of weight for the new Baby.

- Another less expected result of this dietary change is that we are making FAR less trips to town for groceries. So, we are saving gas too. Woo Hoo!

All in all, I am VERY happy with our progress so far! Leave me a comment to cheer me on!

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