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Tag: food (page 2 of 3)

feed your family (healthfully) for only $2.90

Recently in one of my classes we were discussing food and our ecological footprint on the world. One topic that kept resurfacing was how many of my students would love to buy more organic foods but the cost is just too high. Not only is the price not right, the other main argument that many of them made is that it just takes too long to make a healthful meal. And it is these two factors–cost and time–that often leads to people eating crappy food. This sentiment is one I’ve heard not just from my college students (who you might expect to not always eat the healthiest of foods), but from other adults and parents that I talk with.

I really don’t understand why anyone would subject themselves to the fast-food garbage that they call food.

In addition to this discussion, I keep seeing these commercials lately from the typical fast food restaurants enticing customers with their low prices. You know the ones–“Feed your family for under $4” and in small print it clarifies that this is “per person.” Given the hard economic times I can see how this might sound good for many.

But all this got me thinking . . . is it really true that you can’t eat healthfully without spending a fortune or without spending all day in the kitchen?

Thinking about this I decided to break down a couple of our recent meals to see the cost and time factor.

The first was a meal of Tofurky brats and dogs on buns, organic baked fries, organic steamed veggies, and a salad. While some of this food was processed, it was a simple, fast meal (less than 30 minutes) in which everything but the bread was organic and non-GMO. And average cost per person for this meal was $3.65!

The second meal was a casserole dish that is extremely fast and easy to throw together–less than 10 minutes. However, cooking time does take awhile at 1 hour–but then the casserole is in the oven leaving you plenty of time to do other things and not just slave away in the kitchen. The dish consists of Tofurky kielbasa, frozen and fresh organic veggies, organic potatoes, and organic cheese. This dish alone comes out to be just $3.08 per person (sometimes even less because we often have leftovers with this dish). Being the bread lover that I am, I typically serve a loaf of bakery bread stuffed with roasted garlic hot out of the oven, bringing the total up to $3.58 per person for a really easy, nutritious, and tasty meal.

Galloping gargoyles! It is possible to eat healthfully for less and not spend all day in the kitchen.

One last meal that I recently prepared was a recipe for chickpea and potato curry over rice. Using canned organic chickpeas and canned organic tomatoes saved me on the preparation time. All the other ingredients were organic as well, including the rice. The total time for this meal was about 35 minutes and the cost came out to only $2.90 per person! This meal does require some more uncommon spices, so if someone doesn’t have these on hand the cost might be slightly higher.

I have to say I, myself, was a little surprised by these figures. I actually thought the cost per person would end up higher. Our family has been trying to make strides in eating healthier, and due to this I am willing to spend more on organic and non-GMO items. But, breaking it down like this I see that in comparison to those typical fast-food places we can actually eat better, more nutritious food for less money!

Using an expression my son loves–galloping gargoyles, IT IS possible to eat healthfully for less and not spend all day in the kitchen doing so! Now, with these two main arguments of cost and time not holding up to my test, I really don’t understand why anyone would subject themselves to the fast-food garbage that they call food.

japanese curry for dinner

We had a good time tonight all chipping in to prepare dinner as a family. I had a hankering for Japanese Curry Rice (also known as Karei Raisu) just like I remember from the Hibarigaoka neighborhood in Tokyo, but veggie style. Anyway, I think it turned out pretty good–maybe a bit too thick but very yummy. Itadakimasu!

If you want to give this a try, check it out from NoRecipes.com: Homemade Japanese Curry Rice.

a delicious sticky mess

Today we spent the better part of the morning at Pilcher Park in Joliet, IL learning about how maple syrup is made. This is a popular seasonal program at the park where they actually tap their sugar maples and produce the syrup on site. It was good fun. As I understand it, the whole process begins in early to mid February when the trees are tapped. The tree has to be at least 12 inches in diameter before it is mature enough to tap. That’s about 30 years old. Larger trees can take more taps. When done properly, the tree is not harmed. Once tapped about three inches deep, a spile (or spout) is attached and a five gallon bucket is hung from it to catch the sap as it drips out. As long as temperatures are above freezing, the sap will drip anywhere from a half gallon to five gallons a day from each spile. That sounds like a lot, but keep in mind it takes about 40 gallons of sugar maple sap to make one gallon of syrup. (The sap is about 95% water.)

As the sap is collected at the park, it’s poured into a larger tank just outside the “sugar shack.” Going into the tank it’s filtered and then flows into the “sugar shack” itself where it finds its way to the evaporator. As we opened the door to enter the sugar shack, it was like walking into a dream. We could barely see as the room was filed with sweet smelling steam of the water boiling off the sap. The kids all gathered around to learn about the process of reducing the sap down to syrup and even got to sample a bit right there.

After checking out the sugar shack, we went for fun winter hike to work up our appetites for what was to come after that–a delicious pancake breakfast with 100% maple syrup of course. As if all that wasn’t enough, after breakfast the tour continued. This time, we learned about the animals of the park’s nature center–focusing mostly on turtles, tortoises, snakes, and the center’s prized red-tail hawk Nemo.

We had such a good time, when the tour was over, Chris, Aidan, and I decided to do some more hiking. You can’t beat 39 degrees and sunny in February. It was a great morning. Time well spent. Check out the photos above if you haven’t already.

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