Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mama On A Mission...

For years now I have leaned toward finding a more natural lifestyle, which isn't always easy. It started small, with me learning about my oldest son having dry skin which turned out to be Eczema, which he inherited from me (who would have guessed it, all those years I thought I just had pimples all over... heh.) from learning we had Eczema to educating myself on the best ways to deal with it, I started to discover that all of the "soap" products we had were really nothing more than chemical filled synthetic products, nothing natural about them, it's no wonder our Eczema was constantly flared up! That's how I learned about all natural handmade soaps, and began making them myself.

I grew up on convenience foods (Hamburger Helper and Rice-A-Roni anyone?) and thought nothing of continuing to eat those after I had children of my own. My family was eating loads of just-add-water "homemade from a box" (as my ex mother in law used to say) meals, generally cooked in a microwave. (Have I mentioned I haven't owned a microwave in 4 years? It's amazing to discover you don't really NEED one!)

I'll tell you that for a good 8 years I fed my own family overly processed, highly synthetic, convenience foods, just like 60% of the rest of the Nation***

In the past 5 years that I have been with my husband, I have learned to make some drastic changes. I started to eat healthier, mostly because he insisted, and gradually I began to like some of it... though I was heavily into the coupon game for awhile and most of what you can get with coupons is convenience foods, so that's what I bought.

Around the time I got pregnant with my youngest, who will be 3 next month, I was starting to really get a good grasp on the whole thing... actually paying attention to what products we use, and more recently what we eat. In recent months I've gotten to the point that I absolutely dread going to the grocery store. I walk through the aisles and I can just feel the labels screaming all their obscene nasty chemicals and additives at me. Two months ago when I went shopping I literally stopped in the middle of an aisle looking around and could just feel myself getting wearier by the second thinking about how I KNEW all the crap that was in the food I was buying, but I felt nearly powerless to do anything about it.

Not anymore!

When we got our income tax return we bought half a cow and a pig from a farm down the road. The meat was butchered by two local meat cutters, and cost maybe $1,000 between the 4 checks we had to make out... was well worth it to have a stand up freezer so full of meat that it was overflowing... AND we supported THREE local small businesses in the process. Our hamburgers and roasts don't shrink when we cook them, and our pork chops have fat that gets crispy not chewy... how's that for GOOD products?

The meat tastes so much better than the junk at the store, and in the end cost about the same, we won't have to buy meat again until fall at least.

We also have 2 chickens who started laying eggs this winter... not a lot for a family of 6 but 2-3 eggs a day is helpful! We are getting a few more chickens to help increase the yield and then we can cut out having to buy eggs... yet one more thing we will know where it came from and what went into it and can feel good about eating it! It's also another good source of meat!

We are working diligently on growing a nice sized garden this year, which I've already mentioned here, and Last time we went for a big grocery shopping, we bought almost all fruits and vegetables, which is great and since we didn't have the added cost of meat to consider, I splurged and got lots of fresh ones and as much organic/natural as I could. We did buy a bunch of pasta and pasta sauce, cause lets face it, my husband is Italian and pasta is one of the ultimate comfort foods (go me!).

I've been researching more about MAKING more foods from scratch, and today I convinced hubby that it would be a great investment to buy a pasta machine. He was planning to save up to buy attachments for our Kitchen aid Mixer (Super frugal find from a couple months ago, I'll write about that soon!), but when I got looking at the cost and everything, explained to him that it might be more cost effective to buy a separate machine. After doing some shopping around and him thinking back on his childhood (his grandmother used to make pasta all the time... heck, probably still does!) we settled on an Imperia SP150 and ordered it from Amazon using some gift cards I've earned from Swagbucks (not many because I just ordered a bunch of books for my son who paid me cash in exchange for the gift cards I used)

We also got a 2mm Spaghetti attachment and a Norpro Ravioli Maker and Press.

Pasta is a big thing in our house, though we pair it with lots of veggies, salad, etc. I like the idea of making it myself so I can control what types of ingredients are going in it... and I think that by including the kids in the process they'll become a bit more aware of what they are putting into themselves and hopefully keep the love of making their own food with them as they grow!

***I have no idea what the general statistics are, but I'd wager on it being more than half, lol

Full disclosure: If you click on any of the links that go to above and purchase any of the items I posted, I'll get a tiny reward for sending you their way, I'm all about saving money though so if you can find it cheaper somewhere else,  more power to ya! As for the Swagbucks link, if you sign up through the link, I'll get matching Swagbucks for your first 1,000, which will net me somewhere around two Amazon gift cards for $5 each :)

No comments: