Urban Adaptation

Sustainable urban living, rural dreams, and daily change for a homemade life.

Posts Tagged ‘food

September purchases

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With the start of a new semester and the end of a scholarship, I’ve been thinking more about finances recently, and about shopping.  After spending August not buying any necessities (with a few slip-ups), I’ve kept working hard to keep the unnecessary shopping to a minimum.

In my budget spreadsheet I actually record days on which I’ve spent no money.  It’s a nice visual, and it gives me a sense of accomplishment.  This month, out of 30 days I’ve had 20 that were no spending.  This is exactly what I was aiming for.  I’m pretty proud of this.

So, what did I spend on?  Beyond the usual rent ($610), electricity ($40), phone ($30), internet ($50), and insurance ($25), I don’t seem to have bought much.  There was a thrifted t-shirt and new with tags pumps that dont hurt my ankle to go towards an outfit for job interviews ($7), plus some new socks that I hope will help to prevent blisters on my longer runs ($10).  There was a whole lot of cough medicine and cough drops to stop the hacking long enough that I could teach the first week of classes when I was oh-so-sick ($30) as well as shampoo, toothpase, and deodorant ($13).  There were thank you cards bought to send out for the wedding gifts that were given to us ($5). There was a plunger and snake for a backed up sink, and a carpet sweeper ($50 – the month’s biggest purchase), a low-cost way to finally keep my carpets clean, I hope (and no, it’s not one of the ones that requires regular purchase of sticky insert things).   There was food – a lot of it – mostly purchased at the local farmer’s market directly from local farmers.  And then there were some used books – $13 for three novels, a textbook, and a book on raising goats.

While they’re not all necessities, certainly, they are things that will be used and kept for a good long while, and the outgoing cash for their purchase was relatively minimal – $251.67 if I include the food (which is, of course, a necessity), and $131.91 if I don’t.

And so, while I’ve actually received three paycheques this month, thanks to an unplanned overlapping of three different jobs, I’ve managed to live this month on just one (with $125 in savings coming out of that one as well), and the extras will go into savings as soon as I take out some money for charitable donations (this, unfortunately, does tend to vary from month to month – some are rather tight, others not really so much).

And that was September.  I’m pleased with how the budgeting went, and while there’s always room for improvement, I think everything went rather well overall.  Next month?  Trying to cut down even a bit more, on electricity, on food, and on things that aren’t really essentials.  The used books are still proving a bit troublesome since there’s so much I want to read (I keep stopping in to look for The Hunger Games), but I’ll be seeing about that a bit as well and working to set more limits on the book puchases both for money and space reasons.


Written by Jenn

October 1, 2010 at 12:31 pm

Research and red currants

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In addition to spending more time in my research site than I have in awhile, today I also made food progress (can one make progress with food?  I dunno, but whatever…)

First, there were refrigerator sour dill pickles.

Then, there was gooseberry and red currant jelly, made with fruit from a good friend’s mom’s garden (and a whole lot of kiitchen counter stuff tucked in behind – oops, and apparently tomorrow should be kitchen tidy-up day).

It was a good day.  Satisfying, but tiring as well.  And now I’m looking forward to reading on the couch for a bit before bed while enjoying the sound and lights of the thunderstorm that’s just blowing in.

Written by Jenn

July 11, 2010 at 11:10 am

Farmer’s market haul

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Yet another (mercifully brief, I hope) update from this week’s farmer’s market…

This week, it’s a whole lot of greens and a few other bits and pieces – apparently my latest obsession.  Here we have spring onions (loads and loads – so tasty), bok choi, rainbow chard, cabbage, kohlrabi, beefsteak tomatoes, and broccoli.  In the front are some locally made bagels which are light but super-tasty.

(By the way, other than those holding the bagels, all plastic bags are reused).

Not from the market, but from the same trip: pickling salt, a reuseable toothbrush, eco-friendly laundry detergent, spices,and a bag of local organic oats from the local grain mill (which is fantastic, by the way).

I’m excited about all the greens – thus far, I’ve had steamed greens, greens in salads, and greens as the wrap part of chickpea salad wraps.  Up next I have exciting plans for stir fried broccoli and bok choi as well as – with any luck, fingers crossed – homemade sauerkraut.  Onward and upward…

Written by Jenn

July 3, 2010 at 11:48 pm

Farmer’s market

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Once again, the market was delightful.  I made my way home with local strawberries (last of the season – so sad), sweet potatos, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, red pepper, zucchini, and beets.

And then…there was pie, made from this recipe.

Pie is good.  That is all.

Written by Jenn

June 26, 2010 at 10:41 am

Posted in Eating well

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Quiet foodie Sunday

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It was a quiet day today, as I’m usually of the opinion that Sundays should be.  I woke up early – as I do pretty much every day now – and had some time online before calling my dad and wishing him a happy father’s day.  I had some breakfast, took a bit of a bath while reading “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle”, and then went for a bit of walk.  While I was out, I picked up some organic cocnut oil for baking and a book on keeping chickens (although that may go back in favour of a different one, once I’ve had a chance to look through it).

Although I had plans to write a bit this afternoon, they got a bit pushed aside in favour of a trip to the grocery store and some kitchen time.  Really, it needs to be cleaned before someone comes to look at the leaky fridge, but I also spent a good deal of time making food.

Garlic scapes were turned into a fresh, garlicky flax seed pesto and, with green onion and tomato from the market and basil from out back, became pizza.  The strawberries from the market and rhubarb from friends became what I think is my first-ever pie, complete with lattice top (pictures to follow – so proud!)

Tomorrow, work will get done, as will more cooking, and the eating of the tasty leftovers.  Today, I’ve cleaned the kitchen, made some good food, and learned to make some new things, which is just fine by me.

Written by Jenn

June 21, 2010 at 12:00 am

Posted in Eating well

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More local foods

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I woke early this morning and ventured out to the farmer’s market at the north end of the city.  I was pretty excited about it yesterday, and wasn’t disappointed when I arrived this morning – more vendors than I expected, plus lots of great offerings.

I came home with a number of things in tow, and it probably would have been more if my fridge weren’t already fairly full.

Here we have: fresh lettuce, spring onions, beefsteak tomatoes, strawberries, cheese curds, Italian sausage, and bacon.

Since I currently have access to a car, I also took a trip up to the Arva Flour Mill, which is fairly close by.  I walked away with 5 kilos of locally milled flour (without preservatives), plus some of their wheat bran, which I’m looking forward to trying out.

While part of me does still get a bit weird about prices of things in general (I find that grad student funding and strict budgets can really mess with your relationship with money long-term), I really enjoyed shopping at the market and bringing home really good, really local food.  And, in all honesty, the strawberries alone were worth it.

Written by Jenn

June 18, 2010 at 5:04 pm

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Local foods

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Today, I went with a friend to her mom’s place an hour away so she could leave for vacation – I brought her car back, and will be driving it while she’s away, mostly so the battery doesn’t die.

Her mom has a garden out back and they rarely if ever use all that they produce.  So, after hearing that I love garden-fresh produce and have an idea how to use it, she gave me a few things to bring home with me.

Fresh garlic scapes (some of which got used in fried rice tonight).


A jar of her apricot jam, canned from the apricots that grow on the tree in their backyard.

I am delighted beyond belief.  I love rhubard, scapes, and jam in general, but the fact that it was local (albeit with a bit of driving on my part) and grown in the backyard of someone I know is a really nice feeling.  Tomorrow, there will be scapes in my omlette, jam on my toast, and rhubarb crisp for dessert, and I will enjoy it all immensely.  So excited!

Written by Jenn

June 17, 2010 at 11:42 pm

Posted in Eating well

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