For all of you bloggers and lurkers out there who are hoping for a Kim from Daisy Cottage-style gorgeous blog post, this isn't going to be one! http://deardaisycottage.typepad.com/
Folks are worried about the economy and complaining about food prices. One of those people is a friend of mine whose husband eats lunch out EVERY DAY during the work week. This astounds me. If you can afford to spend over $1,400 out per year on lunch, the economy hasn't hit you yet.
Over the last year, we have vastly reduced the amount we spend and continue to look at ways to do even better They have been small changes, things like buying cheese in bulk and doing the shredding at home, buying regular carrots instead of baby carrots, shopping at the Dollar Store and Big Lots, eliminating diet soda, etc. The small changes led to the big change of cutting our grocery bill in half.
The last four pics represent a very successful attempt at making yogurt without a special appliance. I found the recipe here:
Unlike the recipe, I did not buy a candy thermometer. I heated the milk to just under boiling when the bubbles formed at the sides and let it cool until my pinkie felt comfortable in the milk, but it was still hot. That would be Annie's thermometer, I guess. I let it sit overnight on the blue heating pad you see with a towel over it. If the yogurt isn't think enough for you, let it sit in a sieve lined with at paper towel or coffee filter for about a half hour. It came out just perfect.
One of the biggest changes is my commitment not to waste food. For several months, I have used up every morsel of food that has entered our house, as well as composting every bit of that which is not edible. That's not spoiled food, mind you, there hasn't been any spoiled food. It is the papery skins of onions, carrot tops, celery bottoms, etc. I have carefully utilized food in such a way that nothing has gone bad. That's the way it should be, but has not always been, here at the house at 256.
Americans waste an appalling amount of food with no excuse. It isn't that we don't have electricity of proper storage methods. We are simply lazy and inattentive when much of the world goes hungry. There's an interesting blog about it here: http://www.wastedfood.com/ There are moral implications to wasting food, as well as economic ones.
In my new effort not to waste food came last night's dinner, whole wheat pizza with dough made from the breadmaker. My recipe makes two small pizzas. I found it here: http://www.recipezaar.com/Whole-Wheat-Pizza-Crust-for-Bread-Machine-142788
I use whatever I need to use up in the fridge for pizza. Yesterday I had: a small amount of cooked, crumbled sausage; 1/4 of a package of sundried tomatoes; several onion halves; about 20 black olives, two tomatoes getting slightly soft, some pine nuts; some mozzerella and some ingenuity.
I carmelized the onions, which you can see in the first pic. I don't always use marinara sauce on pizza. This time, I brushed both pizza doughs with EEVO. I put black olives, sun dried tomatoes, sausage, fresh tomatoes, parmesan, onions, and mozzerella on one. I put black olives, 1 box of frozen spinach, two cheeses, onions, garlic, and pine nuts on the other. I topped both with crushed red pepper and Italian seasoning.
Last year, I would have thrown out the onions, the tomatoes, the pine nuts, and the olives. I'm glad that economic necessity prevented that this year. I hope you also enjoyed the shot of my cell phone. I have no idea why I left it in the shot.