Green and Thrifty
This week in green and thrifty news I went to talk to the vet about ways to reduce the cost of Benson the Wonder Puppy's allergy medication, and she told me that every time I get the prescription refilled there is a $20 dispensing fee (I do this once a month) that I had no idea about. She gave me a bulk discount on four month's worth of meds and on top of that I will save $60 in dispensing fees over those four months. It is so worth asking!
I used left-over pickle juice to flavour potato salad. Yum!
I have been walking everywhere I can these last few weeks. It's not always possible or practical to walk, but it turns out I can walk a lot more than I had been!
I was determined to make the 'empty' toothpaste tube last for another week, and I did.
I have gaps to fill in my 'bee garden' next to the vegie garden, and I transplanted some flowers from other parts of the garden, including viola and love-in-a-mist seedlings which like to seed themselves in the brick path. Gardening for free is my favourite!
Not quite gardening for free - but close - I bought 16 packets of vegetable seeds for $22 from my favourite seed company, The Seed Collection. They offer very cheap seeds which have good germination rates, and they do free shipping in Australia when you spend over $20. I am very excited about growing lots of food this year. My nemesis is succession planting to have a constant parade of greens and veg, but this year, I will crack it. Almost definitely... I'll be doing my first seed planting at the beginning of August, indoors of course, as it will still be freezing here in Tasmania at that point.
Speaking of which, Paul brought me a load of wood in the back of the old Volvo this week. It's amazing how much he stacked in there. I am being warmed by beautiful logs of a big old gum tree that just fell over one day in the bush at his place two years ago. It is now well dried and keeping us warm and cooking the beans at the same time. As always, all my kindling and little logs that I use to get the fire going in the morning come from Paul's place. I go up there every couple of weeks with my chainsaw and fetch some more. Rosy brings me newspapers from the cafe she works at for me to light the fire.
My friend Carla gave me eggs from her happy chickens and for lunch this week I have been frying an egg, served with wilted greens on toast ('wilted greens' being spinach and rocket from the garden). This is followed by an orange, which are very cheap at the shops right now.
I often make a meal that lasts me a week. This week it was vegan chili. I cook a cup of brown rice to serve with it, and that lasts for three serves, so I cooked chili once and rice twice to last for a week of dinners. Now that is my kind of cooking:) Today I will make a vegie soup, featuring pumpkin, sweet potato and carrots, which are the cheapest vegies right now. I will add red lentils and white beans for protein, and that will be my dinner for next week.
Vegan Chili, as made up by Jo:
Saute onion, celery and garlic in a large pot until soft. If you have fresh mushrooms, add them as well. Add a tiny dab of chili powder (my current chili powder is SO spicy. You add however much chili you normally use), and a couple of spoonfuls of a mexican/taco spice mix. Add two cans of chopped tomatoes, and three cans of beans. I used black beans, kidney beans, and a soup mix which was on sale and has four different kinds of beans. Add any kind of chili flavouring you can find. I put in a jar of salsa that I made in 2020. I found them in the pantry recently and have several more of them to get through. Very yum. I also added some chili jam which has been sitting in the back of the fridge for a couple of years now.
Then I crumbled in some accidently dried mushrooms (accidently dried mushrooms is what you get when you leave them for too long in their paper bag in the fridge. But only if you store them in the fridge part. If you store them in the vegie crisper you just get mouldy mushrooms, which can't be revived in any way). Last I added a few handfuls (two? three?) of pearl barley which thickens everything up. Then simmer everything for half an hour or so. If it all gets too thick, add more tomatoes or some stock. I like corn in my chili, but always add frozen corn at the last minute when reheating, to keep it crisp and sweet.
Serve with brown rice, and salsa, if you want it, and lime wedges if you have nice friends with lime trees, which I do:) This is so yum.
If you are after any number of very cheap meal ideas, YouTuber Ardent Michelle will steer you in the right direction. She has tried many challenges of eating for one or two dollars a day, and as a bonus she has a lovely, gentle voice, which is very soothing among the social media cacophany:)
Eating from the garden this week: lemons, rocket, spinach, parsley, silverbeet.
Edible Weeds: Chickweed
Gifted: Eggs from Carla, potatoes from Carla, firewood from Paul.