A Little Ray of Sunshine

Thursday, September 22, 2005

About living with less

Had a bit of a conversation with some folks over at Vox Popoli about living on, hmm, less than one would like. Well, no one ever said it was easy, and it took us a while to get the hang of it. Part of it's a mindset, you have to be aware of what you really need and what is actually a luxery. Such as electric lights.
On to practicalities. Talk to a vegetarian or two. They'll tell you how you can get all the protein you need from plant foods. Plant foods are cheaper. There's a really old recepie book called Recepies for a Small Planet that has excellent information about how to do this. Just ignore the politcal messages from the author. Unless, of course, they fit your politics. Legume plus grain equals protein. Rice and beans, lentils and barley, etc.
Now, I'm not saying you should become a vegetarian. Most of the stuff they eat doesn't taste all that appealing to me. But they do have information you can benefit from.
When you see, say, a pork picnic roast on sale at your grocery store for $.68 a pound, what do you think? I think, that's a great price, I'll get two. What can you do with this peice of fatty meat that's got a great big bone through the middle?
Get your knife out and sharpen it, and chill the meat. Most meats cut easier when they're half frozen, and not all soft and wiggly. Cut off the fat. Save it. You can use it as grease for cooking pancakes or whatever else in. Hey, you aren't worried about heart disease, right? You're worried about getting enough food for your family. There's a lot of fat on one of these. You'd better freeze most of it.
Now you can chunk off the rest of the meat in stew/stir-fry sized chunks. One-inch cubes work well. Get out a bunch of sandwich baggies, or empty single serving yogurt containers. This is flavering, not main dish, okay? Toss them in the freezer, too.
Save the bone, too. You'll get six, maybe eight meals out of your eight-pound roast, depending on how much was fat. (I'm speaking for a family of four, my family. This is what I do.)
Soak your beans, peas, lentils, your dry legumes, overnight. Put them and the bone, along with some vegetables, carrots are nice, and some seasonings (you'll have to learn what your family likes), in your pot or crockpot. Let them cook all day. Dinner's ready.
If your children aren't used to eating like this, they'll pout for a while and refuse to eat. That's fine. The rule around here is you eat what you're given or go without. So a child misses a meal or two. He'll survive.
With the meat peices, you can make stews or stir-fries. Remember, legume plus grain equals protein. Your meat is more like a seasoning. So put some grean beans or peas in your stirfry and serve over brown rice. (Brown is more nutritious than white.) With your stew, try black beans and barley. Barley is cooked like rice. Wheat berries must be soaked overnight before cooking, dump them in with your legumes. (You may use a preasure cooker instead, but don't go out and buy one if you don't already have one. A little advance planning will suffice, and costs less.)
So that's what you do when you can get a pork roast. I'll talk about something else next time the mood strikes me.

1 Comments:

  • At 9:22 AM, September 28, 2005, Blogger Billy D said…

    "If your children aren't used to eating like this, they'll pout for a while and refuse to eat. That's fine. The rule around here is you eat what you're given or go without. So a child misses a meal or two. He'll survive."

    That's how it was at my house growing up, and I made it! Kids'll eat when they get hungry enough, believe me.

     

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