Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Beets Bonanza

Source - Not our collection of canned goods....
but our pantry looks similar!
I'm a lucky duck - not only did I move into a household where they follow a strict Gluten-Free diet and are proponents to the Paleo Diet, but they almost believe in the wonders of a home garden.  Most of the tiny yard about our mobile home is garden space, not to mention the nice patch at the community garden where we can plant anything, as long as we stay organic.  I help out when I can - usually watering and pulling weeds when I see them - but what I enjoy the most is when they bring the fruits of the garden inside and we start processing the food. (yeah, I'm strange....)

We are currently working our way through out collection of beets.  It seems that someone (who will remain nameless) went a little crazy with the beet planting this winter.  Not only is there a 3' by 3' "hedge" of beets here at the house, there is a full 10' row of the stuff at the community garden.  Yeah - we're literally seeing red these days.

I went through the home patch last weekend and pulled what needed to be pulled - mainly the HUGE beets and anything trying to "escape" out of the ground (yes, they're literally climbing out of there!).  These were cooked and peeled and later consumed. 


 Yesterday, my roommate, A, went through the same patch and pulled some more.  We spent last night after dinner cleaning, boiling, and canning those for later enjoyment.....

And still....the beet hedge stands out there in the front yard and mocks us. 

There are rumors of going to battle tomorrow - pull everything in the front yard AND in the community garden and clean, cook and can it all.  I'm sure we're going to come out of the experience looking like we actually went to battle. (If you don't know beets bleed a LOT.)  Should be....interesting.

But I will say this - I think we're going to be eating beets forever....

Link - More Reasons to Give Up Sugar

The ladies over at Food Your Way are doing a Break the Sugar Habit Challenge this June. 

Now, if you're reading this website, you've probably already given up the sugar monster but if you haven't....or if you have friends that could use a little "motivation", check out the great links at More Reasons to Give Up Sugar.  Lots of great information to get your moving towards your "sugar free" lifestyle!

Monday, May 28, 2012


One of my good friends lost her battle with cancer today. 

This is a very distressing event for everyone who knew Ms. M.  The illness happened so quickly!  One moment, she was fine and bouncing off the walls....and the next, she was fighting for breath in the ICU of the local hospital. 

I had just had coffee with her 5 weeks ago.  She was bubbly, happy, and ready to rebuild her home business after having to take a year off to recover from an unrelated brain surgery. 

2 weeks later, I called to see if she wanted to get coffee again but she turned me down - she had "pneumonia" and had to stay in bed. 

A week after that, her doctor admitted her into the hospital.

2 weeks later, she was gone....

So, do me a favor and go hug your family on this Memorial Day.  Remember - life is short.  All we can do is live each day to its fullest.....

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Attack of the Onions and Lettuce!

I got 15 lbs of onions at Family Harvest on Friday.  Add that to the boxful that we already had (my roommate, A, gets a weekly brown bag from the Senior Assistance program here in town and there's always onions and potatoes in it), and we have enough onions to keep a Italian village happy.

So, now we're on the lookout for good Paleo onion recipes.  I woke up Saturday morning, to find A and my other roommate, R, prepping and shredding onions in the food processor.  These were handed to bleary-eyed me (remember, this is all before I've had my coffee) to make oniony meatball soup for lunches this week.  It's Thursday and I think there's just enough to feed everyone today and tomorrow.  Thank god, since we're are getting sick of soup!

We're very "grocery-sales-conscious" around here.  Since this is a "toss it all in the pot and see what happens" partnership, we make it a point to sit down Tuesday or Weds night with the ads and discuss what we have, what's on sale, what to buy, and what needs to be eaten.  That way, things get cycled through here with minimal food and money waste. 

So, we spent some time Tuesday night with the grocery ads, recipe books, and Mr. Google, trying to find ways to make that mega-box of onions disappear.  Same with the four heads of cabbage and three huge bags of "gourmet salad mix" that they gave me.  (And let's not even mention the multiple heads of lettuce in the garden outside that are coming to maturity and must be eaten.) No matter how many salads we have, there's no way we're going to eat through all of those tender leaves before they go bad.  I suggested sauteed salad leaves with lots of onions, garlic, and ginger....A voted for lettuce soup....R voted for a little of both.  So, we're doing one today and the other tomorrow.  Should be interesting!

BTW: we did have some good news - A, who is my mother's age and has been eating Paleo for 3 months and gluten-free for over a year and a half, saw a 40 pt drop in her bad cholesterol in the last year.  40 POINTS!  Take that, Mr. Low-Fat, No Taste!  ;-)

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Rumors of My Demise Are False...

To answer some questions I've received via email in the last month or so:
Yes, I'm alive.

Yes, I'm still Paleo.

Yes, I'm still watching my pennies when it comes to our food budget.

The last few months have been a bit crazy....but really, every month since I broke my leg (July 2011, if anyone is interested) has been a bit insane!

The biggest change of the year - the kids and I moved.  We're now sharing a house with a couple friends to help everyone save on expenses.  The kids and I share the large master bedroom - a seriously HUGE change for us but we're getting used to it.

Why the sudden change?  Well, we live in one of the most expensive places in the US (San Fran Bay Area) and with the economy the way it is, this was one way we could assure everyone could pay their rent AND eat - two VERY important things when you have kids!  ;-)

Thankfully, my roommates are gluten-free and semi-Paleo (they like an occasional GF noodle, rice, or potato at dinner) so we get along well.  We're pooling our food resources to ensure that everyone eats.  I kick in $100 / month plus whatever I get through the Family Harvest program from the local Food Bank and they kick in what they can from their budgets and other sources...and we seem to eat well!

Yes, I do participate in the local food bank's Family Harvest program. I take the kids' wagon to the local community college once a month where they fill it with some packaged and canned foods, rice, beans, a protein or two (usually frozen chicken or ground turkey), some fruit, and LOTS of vegetables.  The first time I went, I was amazed at the sheer amount of fresh stuff I got.  They say that Family Harvest provides each family with 100 to 120 lbs of food a month - I believe it!  Some months are hit and miss (like the one month I got a full box of canned green beans - we're still eating through those - or the month we got another box full of frozen mac & cheese - my son ate half and the rest went to a local homeless center) but most of the time it's pretty good.  The non-paleo stuff that we won't eat gets passed on to friends or others who are struggling so nothing goes to waste.

Now, as you can guess, I had a hard time stepping up to the plate when it came to accepting food from the food bank....but then I realized something: if I had to decide between my pride or feeding my kids, my kids would win every time.  We weren't actually starving - my frugalness and tight food budget kept that away - but I do have other bills that need to be paid off....and that wasn't happening as long as I allowed my pride to win.  So, yes, I swallowed down that hard pill and did what I had to do. 

This grown-up stuff SUCKS.....but sometimes, a Mama's gotta do what a Mama's gotta do, right?  ;-)

Anyway, I promise to be back here a little more often to share our new exploits and adventures of eating Paleo on a Budget.  Can't wait to see what happens next!