Hello out there!
Obviously I haven't quite gotten a handle on my recent bout of blogging laziness, but I've been feeling a little more inspired lately and am hoping to stage a comeback. I may do occasional updates on the house, but for now, I would like to turn my focus back toward my two other loves: gardening and food.
Many of us are being hit hard by a economic double whammy when it comes to putting food on the table these days. The cost of food has risen at an alarming rate over the past year or so, and difficult economic times (whether they are driven by the economy or self-induced) have left us with less money in our pockets with which to buy it. While I pride myself on being able to provide healthy, organic meals for my family on a limited budget, this ability has been challenged in recent months, and I have had to take a hard look at the reality of our situation and set new priorities. It is with this in mind that I have decided to start a series of posts centering around things we are doing to trim our food budget, with a focus on frugal shopping and simple, cost-effective recipes. I'm also hoping to pick your brains a bit!
Organic food has been a mainstay of our family's diet for a long time, but it's no secret that organics are often much more expensive than their conventional counterparts. One of the fastest ways to cut costs is to switch from buying organic food to buying conventional, which can save you anywhere from 20 - 50% (or more) right off the bat, without any extra effort on your part. This probably sounds like blasphemy coming from someone who claims to be concerned about the health of our bodies and our planet, but the truth is, store-bought organic food is (sadly) a luxury that not everyone can afford.
I find it much easier to make an informed choice about what I'm buying if I'm able to identify those organic items that are worth spending the extra money on. The Safe Shopper's Bible has always been very useful for helping me figure out how to make our food dollars count most. There are also sources online (this is a good one) with lists of those foods that are most important to buy organic.
One of the major ways we've always saved money is by doing and making things ourselves, so I will be talking a lot about this year's vegetable garden, which I'm hoping will provide a lot more of the basic necessities than it did previously. Chickens are in our near future, and there may be other livestock making an appearance as well. Things could get interesting!