Saturday, April 25, 2009

What's Cooking 4.27-5.3

Sustainable Food Budget Challenge - April 2009

Before I run my usual post I have to share the most exciting news!

Yesterday I acquired my first two gallons of raw milk!!! I have been searching for a local source for *months* and I finally found it in my backyard!

The milk actually comes from South Carolina (it is illegal to sell raw milk in North Carolina), but there is a local woman who drives south every two weeks, procures the milk and then sells it here.

This woman lives 2 blocks away from me - next door to a friend of mine! But I found out about her from another woman who babysits for another friend - that's a pretty circuitous path, don't you think?

Now that I finally found this source I will get two gallon of luscious *real* milk every two weeks. The cost is $8/gallon which is comparable to the price or organic milk in our local stores and, to my mind, cheap at twice that price.

I love that I am supporting healthy, pasture-raised cows to do what they do naturally.
If your wondering what the big deal is about raw milk (like my husband), you must read the whole fascinating story here.

Now to run the numbers: Keeping with the challenge to buy local and/or organic food on a budget I spent $32.58 at Amazing Savings and $34.07 at Green Life. The cost of food this week included $16 for milk and $66.65 for food, for a grand total of $82.65.

I also spent $26.23 on these non-food items:
$6.99 for 12 rolls of environmentally-friendly TP, $7.49 for Emergen-C (My husband swears this stuff keeps him cold-free. He wasn't thrilled with the pink lemonade flavor - he prefers tangerine - but it usually costs over $12 for the 36 packets so he was pleased over-all.), and $11.75 for 1/2 pound of organic loose-leaf green tea (my husband's one spend-thrift vice: massive consumption of quality tea).

This week marks the end of the month's challenge to buy sustainable food on a budget and I am thrilled to report that my monthly food costs came in at $310.08 - almost $10 under the goal of $320 I set for the month. Yay!

I feel confident that I can keep up with this challenge, especially since my CSA share will start up in May. I already paid into it so I should save at least $20 on my weekly produce costs and I hope to use those savings to buy some local meat from pasture-raised animals.

The pool we belong to has grills for our use and after a late-afternoon swim, the bratwursts from Hickory Nut Gap Farm are insanely good and make up the perfect meal
with homemade rolls and coleslaw (made with homemade mayo, of course).

Here's what were eating this week:

Black Bean Chilaquiles
Green Salad

Tuesday: (I'm in the hospital for my 24-hour call shift.)

Whole Wheat Penne
with Ricotta, Broccoli and Kale
(see recipe posted below)

African Groundnut Stew
Whole Wheat Couscous

Green Salad

Homemade Pizza

with Roasted Peppers and Pepperoni

Spinach Salad

The Taqueria Truck Comes to Our Home!

(My Son's 4th Birthday Party! More about that later!)

Curried Split Peas
Brown Rice

Sweet Potatoes

Whole Wheat Penne with Ricotta, Broccoli and Kale

Serves 4

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

2 1/2 cups dry whole wheat penne

2 cups broccoli florets

2 cups coarsely chopped kale

1 14 1/2-ounce can fire-roasted, diced tomatoes, undrained

1 cup part-skim ricotta

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup julienned fresh basil leaves
Salt to taste
Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese

1. Bring at least 6 cups water to boil in a large pot. Add salt to season. Add pasta and cook according to package directions, adding broccoli and kale during the last 3 minutes of cooking.

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, ricotta, oil, vinegar, and garlic; mix well.

3. Drain pasta and cooked vegetables; add to bowl and toss well.

4. Transfer to four plates and top with basil and Parmesan. Add salt to taste.


Angela Barton said...

I thought you were vegetarian. It seems like all your delicious recipes are vegetarian.
Just wondering...

FOO said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FOO said...

I guess you could say I'm a flexetarian, or more precisely, a locavore. :)

I definitely prefer to eat vegetable-based meals and, goodness knows, it's less expensive to buy local/organic vegetables than meat - and that is a considerable factor in my menu planning.

I concur with my dear friend, who when asked if she eats meat said, "Oh yes, I love the critters!"

I was also persuaded by Barbara Kingsolver's argument in "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" that animals that are raised humanely for consumption on small, local farms are good for the environment.

Kristen at the Food Renegade writes compellingly about this issue, too.

Oh, and did I mention that the bratwursts I can get locally are *insanely* good? Really, I swoon just thinking of them.