Thursday, July 25, 2013

Obsessed with glass!

Are any of you out there obsessed with glass???? I am OBSESSED with glass!

I think glass should be what we use for everything all of the time. I have bought up tons of mason jars from craigslist. Had people pick up jars for me local to them and bring them the next time we see each other. Hit all of the local TJ MAXX stores to buy glass flip top bottles at a crazy low price. Bought a bottle capper  and home brew bottles so that I can bottle up my kombucha and kefir water in little bottles so that we can take them places with us a little more easily.

Not to mention the saving of pretty much every glass jar that comes into my home. Glass straws....not yet due to the fact we have a toddler. But I do have stainless and am in the process of eliminating all of his BPA free cups and going to switch over to small mason jars with lids that have an o ring in the top to hold my stainless straw.

So as you can tell, I have a LOT of glass.  But what all do I use it for???? No offense to all of the plastic lovers out there and all of the plastic co.'s out there...... but I REALLY don't like plastic.  Ever since my first 'party' I went to, paid a bunch of $ for a super great piece of whatever, heated something up in it and viola.... it had the food etched into the side and smelled of that food for what seemed like forever. Not to mention the new color it had! Back to it.... I use glass for everything! Fermenting foods and drinks, storing crackers, pretzels, pasta, popcorn, seeds, nuts, power balls, dried fruit, anything that has been opened, home made everything from yogurt to kefir, cut fruit, greens, herbs, roots, everything in my apothecary, oils, tinctures, frozen berries, frozen soup, frozen garden grown items, sauces, juice and that is all I can think of off the top of my head. Of course all of the things I put up from my garden to eat throughout the year are in glass as well.

Magic potions are kept in glass, my remineralizing fluoride free toothpaste is in glass, deodorant is in glass, home made fabric, home made laundry soap... glass.  You get the idea.

Glass is something that can be passed down through the generations, some of my favorite jars are the vintage ones. And things to the Kerr and Ball companies they keep their lid sizes the same! So you can always get new lids and rings. There is way less carbon footprint from glass. Remind me again what the decomposition time is for plastic....... Plus no toxic chemicals that leach out. You can have something gross and grosser in glass after a tad bit of soap and some hot water it is like new!!!! For sure that is not the case with plastic.

I hope you love glass too, and if you have never really thought about it try something that will give you a great experience with glass .  Like a frozen mason jar filled with your fav beer, or a  ice filled mason jar filled with a coke-coke always tastes better in glass-, or fill one up with your frozen blueberries and appreciate how easy it is to pour those puppies out. Give it a whirl and see what you think!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

How I feed my family of 5 on $100 a week

I imagine just like anyone reading this... I prefer to hang on to as much of my own money as possible! Sometimes the local grocery stores and markets are good at helping us, and sometimes they are not.

So here are a couple of the tricks I use.

First off I LOVE to order through my co-op Azure Standard. They delivery once a month, the products are high quality and you can pick from a HUGE selection. There is no sales tax and as long as you have a minimum order of $50 there is no shipping fee.  You just show up at your drop point at the designated time and everyone there helps unload the truck and you go home.  You can even have a check for the driver if you don't want to pay securely online. I mean really a check, how awesome is that?

Zaycon Foods is a cool way to get some great deals. Check them out here:  Lots of options, the things I am interested in from these guys are all fresh and never frozen.  That means you do have to get it ready for the freezer once it arrives, but you are all set for a good bit of time.

Next, I like to take advantage of Whole Foods one or three day sales.  They have all different things on these sales and you can get some great deals to stock up on. I did a mommy meet up tour of WF and learned about all the best ways to save there.  Bulk produce is a HUGE money saver. Their store brands are all GMO free and a ton of organic.

Another great savings is The Grocery Game. Here is a link and you can check it out AND try it for 4 weeks FREE! This still saves me money, but nothing like it used to.  Not the grocery games is my local stores and our eating choices. If you go a more traditional route you can probably do really well in the money saving are with this. If you decide to do a free trial, be sure to check ALL of the stores so you can see what is best in your area.

Check your city to see if there is a LDS Bishops Store House.  I bought in bulk, borrowed their canner and was able to get a boat load of dry goods ( oats, different types of beans, and wheat berries) for super inexpensive, plus got to can them in #10 cans to preserve them. AWESOME!!!!! Not to mention when I went in to check it all out and took pics of the bulk bags and googled them all when I came home, all of the growers are organic and most of them are part of the LDS church. I am not a member, so don't let that keep you from looking. You do not have to be a member to purchase their items or check out their canner, just have a valid ID.  Like I said AWESOME!

Next is garden! Growing your own food is amazing, plus you can trade out with others who do the same.

If you have any local international markets go in and check them out.  You will not believe some of the amazing deals. Sometimes their regular price is 60%-70% less than a traditional grocery store.

I am right about $100 a week on my grocery bill and that includes EVERYTHING to feed and clean everyone and everything in my house. That is 4 people and 1 dog.  Buying in bulk is awesome but it is even better to team up with your friends or neighbors so that everyone can get some and save. 

Check it all out, see what works for you.  Tell your friends!  Hey ..... we work hard for our money, let's try to keep more of it!

Friday, July 12, 2013

4th of July- A Home Grown Tradition

So our 4th of July family tradition is a lot like so many families across the country. Food, good friends, fun and some fireworks.

The difference is our fireworks are REALLY FIREWORKS! We do a 4th of July show for a local hotel every year and it is AWESOME!
here is the good farmer ready for a 4th of july bike ride.
How did this start you ask?  Well it all started with my dad who I lost on July 13th, 2001. Since I was a little girl my dad would take off and go do fireworks.  He was good childhood friends with boys who's dad started San Diego Fireworks and after helping them once in a while decided to get licensed as a pyrotechnician. So every year on the 4th we would all come together for a show.  Work, have lunch, work, have dinner, have an amazing show, work, go home and go to bed. We had great locations over the years, a national park that was super fun, the jetty at Marina Del Ray, the OB pier, and the last couple of years this hotel (formerly known as the four seasons).

When we lost my dad it was HORRIBLE! The closest person to me in life, loved by so many people, and needless to say with him being only 52 years old it left a huge void in a lot of lives. Andy decided he wanted to carry on the tradition. So he worked with some of the same guys my dad did and they all hopped on board right away to make sure Andy could get licensed and we wouldn't loose 'our' show. 

some of our hard working crew
Over the years some have retired or moved away, some new ones have come...but no matter what we spend our 4th with good friends and family. Lots of food, lots of fun, and the more people...the less work! It is awesome when people come for the first time, they always want to come back again and usually bring people with them. You know it is a good time when that happens. Plus you get a private show less that 50 yards away and no problems parking or traffic!!!

Every year we thank my dad for making sure we had a great show and we carry on the tradition of breaking down as fast as possible and getting on the road. There is nothing better than spending time with people who really want to be with you. And trust me, sometimes it is hot, sometimes there are just a couple handfuls of us so there is more work... so thank you to all of our friends who come support us and share our homegrown holiday!

Hope you have some great holiday traditions that will carry on through time!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Strawberry Picking!

So we went out and had the most fun strawberry picking!  We had never done this other than picked strawberries that we grow, and our biggest daily yield has been 3. ( we have a lot of strawberries growing, but they are never ready at the same time)

So we headed up to Carlsbad and grabbed a bucket. My good farmer said he wanted a big bucket, so a movie sized popcorn bucket it was. Then we hit the fields.

It is super fun for anyone, but at this toddler age it is perfect. They are down in the ditch between rows so the plants and berries are basically at head level. Some are squishy, some are perfect, some are super gooey and some you might just have to eat right then!

You know it is a HUGE hit when in the hour we spent picking my good farmer yelled out "this is so much fun mom!!!" ten different times.

So look around, look online and try to find a local strawberry field that you can go pick yourself, family fun for everyone!!!

What do you do with that many strawberries you ask? Well..... you eat a BUNCH!!! Some on their own, some dipped in coconut yogurt. What about the rest????

This is what we did.

Strawberry Freezer Jam
1 pound fresh strawberries, stems removed
2/3 cups of xylitol
2 tablespoons Ball Real Fruit Instant Pectin

Measure and blend the xylitol and pectin. Blend or mash the strawberries. Add the xylitol and pectin mixture to the strawberries and whisk for 3-4 minutes.

Pour the mixture in freezer safe containers leaving at least half an inch for expansion. Let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes then pop it in the freezer. Guess what.... you have freezer jam! About 4 cups. Pull one out and put in the fridge as needed.
straight out of the freezer!

Just poured freezer jam

Super simple, family fun and lasting results!