Thursday, August 20, 2009

Money, money, money ...

One of the things that I've spent a good deal of time on recently, but haven't blogged about is money. Specifically, being a better steward of it. Saving it. Living more simply. More frugally.

I've been working at saving money where I can - mainly by not spending as much (go figure!) and by saving on groceries. I've been amazed at how easily I've been able to use coupons, sales, CVS and a few blogs (a couple of which are listed on the right side of my blog) to cut our grocery bill from $200 per week to about $140 per week. Those of you who know me, know I buy a lot of organic and gluten/wheat free stuff. So, I've started buying fresh goat's milk from the farm and organic/sustainably produced produce from the farmer's market. It is more time consuming. And, I've had to give up some things to make time for it. But, I wasn't willing to sacrifice the quality of food for my family just to spend less money on groceries.
"They" always say that time is money and it is true. You are going to spend one or the other!
I've gone back to making my own yogurt (with my farm-fresh milk, of course!), which I haven't done in years! I'd forgotten how EASY and how much healthier it is!
And, I have a few other goals to tackle in the coming months:
1)Bake and cook from scratch, using soaked or sprouted grains as much as possible and grinding my own flours! My goal is to be able to make all of our baked goods homemade!
2)Make our own cereals, condiments, snack bars, etc
3)Learn canning (I'm starting this week with some peach salsa using the peaches and cilantro we picked up at the farmer's market today) & hope to move on to freezer jam and then to veggies!
4)Making more homemade/handmade gifts ... look out, family! :)
5) Plant a garden and grow some vegetables and herbs
6)Learn to sew and
7)Make our own {natural} household cleaners, soaps, etc.
I still have some half-finished furniture painting projects around here - most noteably, my dining room! So, that's first!!
I'll post some pictures along the way ... I'm sure this will be quite the adventure!


Jena said...


You inspire me! Maybe you could post some tips you learn along the way :) And your favorite recipe for homemade yogurt? Yum! I have been trying to find a healthier alternative for yogurt and NEVER thought of making my own!!! Does your yogurt contain probiotics that you know of?

Also, how do you grind your own flour? That is SO cool! Where would you get the ingredients?

Sorry this turned into an 'Ask Angela' comment! HAHA.

Hope all is well :)

Angela said...

Hey, Jena!! I will post some tips along the way! I'm sure I'll have plenty of the 'don't-do-this' variety! Yogurt couldn't be any easier to make. I use raw milk (meaning unpasteurized), so its a little different than using "regular" milk - plus I have a yogurt maker, but you don't need one at all. I heat my milk to 100-110 degrees, then whisk in 2 Tbsp store bought, organic yogurt (plain). Put in yogurt maker and let it do its thing all day. I use goat milk, so its not as thick as when you use cow's milk. When I serve it (or eat it), I mix in a little raw (local) honey. It does have the probiotics because I use yogurt that has them and the live cultures actually "do their thing" (for lack of a better explanation) while its sitting in the yogurt maker. You can also make it and put it in a glass jar and let it sit on the counter until its the consistency you want - usually overnight. Do a google search for a recipe for pasteurized milk. I think you have to heat it to a different temp, maybe?
As for grinding flour, I'm doing it the really really slow way right now...using a coffee bean grinder!!!! Not terribly efficient, but it does the trick. Grain mills are expensive (like $200+), so I'm asking for one for Christmas. I've been doing some reading about how quickly flour turns rancid after its milled, which is what prompted this for me. Its much easier to soak or sprout the grain (and maintains the enzymes). As for getting ingredients, I've been buying them at Whole Foods - probably not the cheapest option and I know you guys don't have one in Des Moines. I've heard Azure Standard is a good source, but I haven't bought from them. Ask at Cambells - or Steve @ Nutrition Marketplace might have a good source.
Hope that helps!!!
I'll try to post more as I learn more! Hope that sweet baby is doing well and you are loving being a new mommy again! Miss you guys!

Sarah said...

You are the most amazing and capable woman I have ever met. I swear to God, there is nothing you cannot do!

You'll have to turn your blog into a "How-To" blog so that we can learn from you!

Jena said...


Thanks SO much for the tips (and time that it took to write the reply)! I am VERY excited to try the yogurt and flour! My dad has been telling me how much longer of a shelf life the unmilled grains have. Very interesting!

Ari is doing great, we are sure enjoying him :) He's already growing up too fast...

Miss you guys! Have a great weekend :)

Lori Eilers said... make me tired! Amazing, though. Love and miss you and those babies...well, Ed too!