2.23.2008

Principles of the Frugal Oreganic: A Five-Part series


Part 1: Forget one-stop shopping.


Let’s face it; most women love to shop. That’s what we were made to do, in a certain sense (see Proverbs 31; that woman shops every day!). We were not made to buy junk or excess things, but we women were given the capacity to shop with discernment. One principal of the Oreganic Thrifty is to divide out your shopping throughout the week, if necessary, and shop at the stores where the best values can be found.

I know, you’re probably thinking what a waste of gas this can be. Not necessarily. Now if you live in the country, your options may be different than if you’re an urbanite. I live in the “burbs”, but within about 2 miles of most of the stores where I shop. Following are some tips to make your shopping more discerning and productive:

  • Plan your menus based on what you already have in your pantry. I try to abide by the principle Use what you have—buy things you’ll use. Stay tuned for my checklist for the “Thrifty Oreganic Kitchen” (move over, Rachel Ray!!!)

  • Think seasonally. Don’t try to make grilled chicken with papaya-mango salsa in the dead of winter. Focus on soups, squashes, sweet potatoes, kale, apples, etc. when you are in winter. Legumes and brown rice make a hearty meal, accented with a variety of spices (which can be purchased for pennies). Brown rice and legumes should always be cooked in homemade chicken broth (stay tuned for more on that) to bring out utmost nutrition and flavor.

  • Be discerning about buying in bulk. Bulk can be a value, but only when it’s something you know your family will use. I’m wary of Costco. Costco sells lots of bulk boxed junk food. The best things to buy in bulk, IMHO, are grains & legumes (spelt, rolled oats, brown rice, black beans, lentils, etc.) These items are very inexpensive anyway, and when purchased in bulk you can save a bundle. I must say I do like to buy Earthbound Organics produce at Costco (their spring mix and washed, cut spinach are a great value, I think). The best place I recommend for buying in bulk is Azure Standard (http://www.azurestandard.com/). Azure is a local Oregon company that supplies everything you’d ever buy from Whole Foods or Fred Meyer at about 30% of the price (often more!). They deliver to many states and ship anywhere.

  • Think outside the box. I will devote a whole post to this later, but suffice to say that when you try to buy as many items as possible in a “bag” rather than a box, you are going to save loads of money right there. Stay tuned for Trader Joe: Friend or Foe? Where I will elaborate on how to have discernment in one of America’s most fun, organic grocery stores!

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2.21.2008

Local Pasture-Raised Chicken

Thursday is "farm day" for the Thienes family. Today was particularly gorgeous for a 45 min. drive (one-way) south of town to Mollala. I usually catch up on my phone calling during this long drive!

Anyway, we were so fortunate to get to our goat farmer's house in time to see the new born goat kids! They were less than 24 hours old. The twin buck and dow were adorable; I saw their little umbilical cords still hanging from their tummies. It was amazing how they could already walk and their eyes were wide open. DD was in awe as she we pet the little babies. Unfortunately, mama had her baby while no one was home, so my farmer wasn't able to get any of that colostrum (it went to the kids, of course!) Hopefully now that spring is on the horizon there will be lots more goat milk to share. My farmer is the ONLY gal in the whole metro area (that I know if) who milks through the winter. It has been a godsend for my baby son who can't tolerate cow's milk formula!

After picking up our order, we went to Deo Volente Farm http://www.deovolentefarm.com/. It was only a few minutes' drive from the goat farm. I was SO impressed by the beauty of this sheep/chicken farm. The chicken bizz is run by the boys, who are all homeschooled. Dad didn't even get involved and I was so impressed by the professionalism of the young men!

They wanted me to pass the word that they are trying to liquidate last harvest's freezer full of chickens. Whole roasting birds are $2.05/lb, which is amazing if you value local, pastured, cage-free/soy-meal feed-free chickens. This is a steal compared to Whole Foods or New Seasons. Check out the link above if you would like to buy some chicken. I can't wait to roast mine up.

Chicken is a great "thrifty food" because when it's raised on pasture and allowed to roam freely, it's much higher in Omega-3 (it rivals salmon in that way!) Pound for pound, it's much cheaper than salmon. I plan to roast the chicken and eat off of it for one meal, then debone all the leftovers for enchiladas, etc. Then, I'll use the carcass to make about 2 gallons of broth, which I'll use for soup and sauces and rice. I will talk more about he magic of soup broth and it's thriftiness in another posting.

Slow-Cooker Garlic Roasted Chicken
adapted from Healthy Crockery Cookery
-Mabel Hoffman

1 4-5# roasting chicken
4 or more cloves garlic, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
Fresh sprigs of rosemary, thyme, or any herbs
Sea salt

1) Place cleaned out chicken in large (5 or 6 qt) slow cooker.

2) Cut tiny slits in the skin throughout the bird and insert garlic cloves between skin and the bird.

3) Rub the herbs and salt all over the bird.

4) Arrange sliced lemon over the top

5) Cook on low all day (8 hours) or on high (4 hours) or until breast meat reaches a temp of 200 degrees.

Upon our return home, we received a delivery of our farm-fresh cow milk and eggs. Thursdays are such a busy, but blessed day!

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Mission Statement & Disclaimer

Welcome to Thrifty Oreganic! Our mission is to promote affordable, sustainable, and local eating and health habits for the whole family.

I am coming from the perspective of a Stay-Near-Home mom (i.e. I'm at home most of the time to do the cooking/baking/purchasing of food). I live in Portland, Oregon. Stores or deals I might mention here may pertain only to Oregonians, but other tips and ideas I share will be relevant to people anywhere! I also write as a mom of a somewhat picky preschooler and a husband who would "rather be eating Doritios". I try hard to follow the Weston A Price principles of diet and nutrition. I seek to provide a resource to those who want to begin to implement lifestyle & diet changes but who want to do so on a budget.

I hope you will find this blog helpful, encouraging, and perhaps, at times, challeninging you to do what you thought you couldn't. I know that feeding our children is a very personal matter, and I never mean to offend anyone's choices. I may come across at times a little bit "soapboxy" on certain topics. If I blast Cheerios, please don't take it personally! OK, disclaiming for now!

Also, it must be said.....Nothing I say here is intended to cure any disease. The FDA has NOT approved anything that I write about (well, perhaps some things). I believe that the FDA is heavily influenced by agri-business and politics anyway, and any group that says aspartame is healthy for human consumption does not have my deep respect.

I digress.....

Thanks for stopping by. Please feel free to visit often and subscribe if you're interested! You are always welcome to drop me a line as well.

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2.20.2008

Oreganic Thrifty

Hello! Welcome to a blog about organic living on a budget in Portland, Oregon (no, I didn't misspell "organic"....get it? Oreg-anic? I still can't believe no one took that name! ). I am a stay-at-home mom who is passionate about eating REAL, Local, well-raised foods. I am here to show you that it can be done on a budget, and that living in a way that's SUSTAINABLE and RESPONSIBLE can be done no matter who you vote for or what kind of car you drive!

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