Two nights ago I started reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver. It's the story of a family who moved from Arizona to Appalachia in order to become independent from the food "system". For one year, they vowed to only eat foods grown locally. They planted a garden, scoured farmers' markets, and tapped water from a nearby spring. I'm only on chapter three or so, but already it's been a great motivator and enforcer of things I'd already decided.
Since going as organic as possible, we've found our grocery bill has grown significantly. We'll be splitting our grocery shopping between Wal*mart (shudder) and Giant for the time being. Wally World for non-produce and Giant for produce. We're hoping to still buy groceries in an affordable way and buy foods that are healthy for our family.
I'm looking forward to the opening of the farmer's markets this spring and thinking about planting the garden in the back yard. I had a small one last year, and this year I'd like to plant again. We didn't have a huge yield last growing season, but I've learned a lot since then, and I'm hoping to do better this year. It's no easy task to balance affordability with quality.
I'm thinking that this season I'm going to try and learn to can as well. I'm not really looking forward to it, because it just doesn't seem like much fun, but I'm going to try my hand.
We've been working hard to eat as seasonally as possible as well, even though we're still frequenting the big-boxes.
Roasted root veggies are a tasty way to spend the seasonal abundance. They're easy in the crock-pot. I chop carrots, rutabaga, parsnips, onion, butternut squash, and potatoes into the crock, add a few dashes of cinnamon, some oil (not too much!), pepper, a teeny bit of salt, and some minced garlic and cook on low for about six hours. It's tasty.
We have been having trouble with the kids buying into the new way of eating. They aren't so keen on whole foods and homemade pizza sauce. Maeryn finally ate a little of the pizza (this is the second time we've made it homemade from top to bottom) but Jonah complained when he found chunks of onion in the sauce and refused to eat more than a few nibbles. His rebellion has been to make his own grocery list including potato chips, marshmallows, graham crackers, pretzels, and Cocoa Puffs. We went ahead and let him get those things on our last grocery trip and he and his sister have been splitting the prize for the last two days. They haven't eaten much healthy food since. I'm trying to trust the unschooling process and just keep offering tasty whole foods while setting a good example with what I choose to eat, but I can't help worrying.
Jonah and I have talked about how he feels when he eats certain foods vs. other certain foods, and he admits that he feels better when he eats healthier, but the junk foods are easier - at least easier than the health foods he enjoys - he's not much for raw veggies, though last week I saw him with a raw broccoli stalk, eating it like a turkey leg while playing checkers with his dad.
Perhaps all is not lost.
In other news - you MUST, if nothing else, begin buying organic sour cream.