Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Food Without Price

The links in the post below may be affiliate links that support our current homesteading wants checklist. Read the full disclosure to learn more and find out what your purchases are supporting.

"Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price."- 2 Nephi 26:25

Think this is a fantasy? Think again. Yes, Christ is speaking and yes, he is talking more about salvation than eating in this life, but these resources for free food are legit. Today I'll be discussing how to supplement and replace part of your family's diet for free. These resources are community based, not government based and come from the goodness of volunteers, so feel free to add to the resources when you can contribute or add a legitimate resource in the comments below and I'll be sure to add it to the list!

  • Falling Fruit- A user-edited resource map/database where anyone can add locations where food can be foraged, including dumpsters, but focused more on live plants and trees. I found out that there are hundreds of locations in my city! Including nut trees, fruit trees, blueberry bushes, etc.
  • Dumpster Diving- Introduction to how to pick up free food from dumpsters, without even needing to climb inside
  • Food Not Bombs- A group of anarchists that collect food from grocery stores and give it out as either groceries or prepared into meals. They're awesome community builders and very friendly. Find a group in your area!
  • Food Not Lawns- Neighbors sharing excess produce by replacing their lawns with gardens and hosting events to swap seeds, etc.
  • Buy Nothing Project-  Local gift economies share things by giving or just borrowing amongst neighbors. You join a Facebook group with your neighbors and can give, request, receive, and build community. Sometimes food is offered, but usually it's more durable goods and sometimes plants. So far, I've received shredded paper (by request for compostable cat litter), a scanner/printer, a crockpot, and a Pyrex baking pan (replacing one of my peeling and rusting ones, yuck to yay!)
  • Community Garden Free Boxes- Our neighborhood community garden has a box hung on the fence for placing free produce for anyone to grab. Look for a community garden near you and see if they are willing to do the same!
  • (Salt Lake Valley only, but maybe start a movement?) Green Urban Lunchbox- This is a local non-profit that allows volunteers to help seniors grow a garden for only the cost of water. Volunteers care for the garden and the harvest is split between volunteers, senior hosts, and local senior centers. They also have a fruit share program where volunteers harvest fruit trees and the homeowner receives a tax-deduction. The fruit is split between the homeowner, volunteers, and hunger relief. This organization offers classes and farm training as well. I would love to see the Back Farms and FruitShare programs be started in other cities as well. Think of the clean yards, free fresh produce, tax deductions, and beauty spread throughout the world!

    Cheap food-
    • Local Farmers, find at Farmer's Markets and see if they have any "seconds", or wasted food that isn't pretty enough to sell at the market. This could apply to dairy, meat, etc. as well.
    • Grocery store- food that is expiring soon or "seconds", usually found in the "bargain" /"discount" section of each department. Ask employees where the brown bananas or discount section is for produce, etc. or if there is any in the back.

      Now we can see how food can be bought without money or price or just for cheap. Here's to better food without price!

      Tuesday, April 18, 2017

      Beanbags from Fabric Scraps

      The links in the post below may be affiliate links that support our current homesteading wants checklist. Read the full disclosure to learn more and find out what your purchases are supporting.

      Can she have a birthday gift, Billy boy, Billy boy? Can she have it fun, zero-waste and plastic-free, charming Billy?

      UG1, UG3, and me all have Spring birthdays. UG2's miscarriage was a year to the day before UG3's birth as well, so we are busy in Spring! This year UG1 will receive some upcycled wool play food from Etsy as a (reading!) preschooler and UG3 will receive a fully homemade birthday for her first birthday. (Read about UG3's zero-waste and plastic-free homebirth here.)

      I had a hard time figuring out what gift to give UG3 for her birthday that would be a durable, plastic-free, and fun for her to play with now and later. I looked up wooden and natural toys for babies and toddlers on Etsy and just couldn't find anything that actually looked like she would play with it for long. Then I found a bean bag set for about $15, which is ridiculous for a one year old's gift in my opinion. So, I looked in my scrap box and found a worn out pair of Mr. Greenie's jeans and the bottoms of some onesies I converted into baby T's. Jackpot!

      I also found this tutorial and adapted it for my own laziness. Here are my adaptations:
      1. I didn't cut my fabric into squares, I just cut the jeans to match the onesie bottom, as seen below-

      2. I didn't mark or pin my fabric, just lined it up and eyeballed it, as seen below-

      3. I didn't measure the beans or put it in a ziploc bag first, just poured them in the fourth side after turning my "pita pocket" right side out.

      4. I sewed completely by hand, as we're still saving up for my treadle machine.

      I just sewed it shut and now I'm on my fourth beanbag (pictured above). Voila, a perfectly fun, free, zero-waste, and plastic-free gift for our soon-to-be toddler (1 year old) UG3.

      She can have a birthday gift, fun, zero-waste, and plastic-free. She's a young thing and can not leave her mother. (Adapted from Billy Boy song)

      Little Urban Greenie

      Wednesday, April 12, 2017

      How to convert recipes into dry mixes

      The links in the post below may be affiliate links that support our current homesteading wants checklist. Read the full disclosure to learn more and find out what your purchases are supporting.

      I've got a jar of dessert, I've got a jar of dessert, I've got a jar of dessert!

      My life is super crazy, so I've been searching for ways to reduce time wasters, particularly cooking. There are a few that I've found intriguing, but only one that seems to meet all of my ideals. I want a time-saving cooking method that I can do using what I already have in my kitchen. I don't own an Instant Pot, but I have heard good things about this electric pressure cooker. I really don't want to buy one right now though, so the Instant Pot is out.

      I want something that doesn't require any refrigeration in case of emergencies, so freezer meals would be out, especially since so many use disposable packaging. I don't want to problem solve my through that learning curve.

      The one that has the most appeal for me is the meals in a jar and here is why: Meals in a jar wouldn't require any disposable packaging, can be prepared in advance and in bulk, and can be adapted for Crockpot meals, Instant Pot meals, campfires, stovetops, or oven use, etc. My idea is to phase slowly into once a month prep for meals in a jar. Then meals would be home canned foods and/or meals in a jar. Just add stuff from the fridge, dump and go every night!

      The problem with most meals in a jar is that they are very specific recipes. Taco soup or muffins in a jar, etc. This may create the need for specialized ingredients and your family may not even like it. My solution? Create universal meal in a jar formulas so that you and I can adapt the recipes we already use to become once a month solution that uses flavors we like so we waste less food, time, and money.

      What is this formula? It's very simple, only put the dry ingredients in a mason jar one at a time. (Try to make a several jars/meals worth at a time for maximum time savings. Shake a little to level it out between ingredients. Label by writing favorite recipe title on a piece of one-sided scratch paper. Glue on label with homemade wheat paste. Place meal starts in pantry for your next busy day! This recipe is a great place to start (and one of my favorites), as you can use whatever you have on hand to make a great muffin mix

      Love the Weck Jar Mix!
      You will never need to test out meals in a jar exclusive recipes again, just use your tried and true recipes that you know your family will love. Then you can happily say that you too have a jar of (insert family favorite here) or dessert!

      Saving time one jar of dessert (or meal) at a time,
      Little Urban Greenie

      Life without Plastic