Welcome to Organic and Thrifty! This particular sight is nearing the end of its construction phase. We’re basically picking out curtains and paint colors and decluttering from our move. Feel free to browse the content; it’s all here. We’re still sleeping over at our old blogspot location, but in the next few days we should be camping out on our new terrain!
So if you want new posts, you’ll need to head over to to my blogspot site to get the latest and I’ll keep you posted as to when we go “live” over here!
Thank you so much for visiting!
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Labor day weekend really threw me off and I just realized that Wednesday is already upon us! We had a great labor day making 72 quarts of homemade salsa with our good friends! We bought as much of the ingredients locally as we could find, which was fun. We literally picked some of the produce on the farm and so it was fun to watch it go from the bush to the stock pot to the canning jar! I also learned a thing or two about canning that I didn’t know before! I’m still kicking myself for not bringing my camera and taking pictures!
In other news, I’ve been meaning to share more of my favorite weight-loss (or weight maintainance, rather) inspriations and I’ve got to tell you about my absolute favorite work-out.
First of all, a little background on me: While I grew up participating in athletics (cross-country, basketball, and tennis in high school) I don’t consider myself extremely athletic now. I try to walk several times a week, but that’s about it. I am extremely limited in what I can do with two young children. Pushing the double jogger is my best bet, although I usually don’t have unlimited time to walk nor do I always have cooperative weather. Even though my husband’s employer is a major athletic footwear and apparell company, (and thus offers state-of-the art gym facilities to employees at a decent price) I still have trouble joining a gym and committing to such a schedule. Time and childcare become my hindrances with every exercise option I investigate.
Videos are OK….but I have a hard time learning from a video. I don’t like to have the TV on anyway when the kids are awake nor do I want to monopolize it from my husband when they are asleep.
SOOO, what is my solution? Well, I found a book that I absolutely love about a program called T-Tapp. The website is very informative and that’s where I first learned about the program. Actually, another blogger several years back mentioned the program and linked over to it. There are TONS of testimonials from real people like this one you must read!
The Gist of it:
T-Tapp is a program started by Teresa Tapp, a rehabilitative theraptist. The book is very informative about the physiology of exercise and talks about how to maximize fat burning, detox, and eat for optimum health and fitness. It’s a very wholistic, rehabilitative exercise program ideal for those who suffer from fatigue or are recovering from an injury. It’s also great for anyone who wants to lose fat and inches and who wants a really toned body!
When you do this program, you will see and feel results FAST. You will drop pant sizes and you will just feel your body getting more toned. You will also feel really good because your muscles are working efficiently and are supporting your organs optimally for elimination and detox. The program also works your lymphatic system which flushes out toxins and other things that can make you sick. It’s such an informative program; I feel like I learned so much about how the body gains and loses weight and it makes so much sense! You also don’t need any equipment or even much time or space to do her workout. In her Fit and Fabulous in Fifteen Minutes program, you really can do an intense workout in about 15 minutes (once you understand how to do all of the exercises).
Her book is also very thorough in explaining how to do the exercises (like I said above, I learn physical movements best by reading about them! YMMV, of course!) You can also order DVDs that teach the movements and a plethora of other resources from the T-Tapp website. She also gives very sound nutritional advise that doesn’t contradict anything from the Traditional Foods movement, other than the fact that she encourages people to “cheat” every third day and just eat whatever they want.
This workout takes some intense study for a period of time while you learn the exercises. The movements must be done with precision or they are not as effective and can even be harmful. Great care must be undertaken in performing the exercises. Sometimes the long explanations were frustrating to me, but in the end I appreciated knowing how to do all the exercises absolutely correctly!
Overall, I highly recommend this book. I began this program a little over a year ago to lose baby weight for my sister’s wedding and I’m still doing in today. I am more flexible than ever and I feel really good about myself after 30 years and 2 c-sections! Of course, there’s always room to improve…
Check it out:
Well, my “free ride” has come to an end. In the spirit of being “thrifty”, we have been using “free wireless” workgroups that we could access from home. Lately, we haven’t been able to log on, so I haven’t been able to update posts, respond to comments, or read all of your amazing blogs! I’m calling our local internet provider (sigh) this week in order to “take the plunge” and buy internet. So, as soon as I’m hooked up to the comcast juggernaught, I’ll be back in business.
If you would like to subscribe to this blog (and thus receive an e-mail when I’m back up and running) feel free to click the link at the right. I think it works….
Hopefully I’ll be back up and running in a few days. I guess I’ll be “fasting” from the internet through the end of Dormition *wink*!
This might be a bit ambitious, but I’m planning on doing a weekly review of diet books/fads/etc. that have to do with weight loss. I am always reading the latest weight loss books out of curiousity and have found that there’s a lot of information floating around in my head to share! I’m going to post the reviews in a simple format of summary, pros, cons, and a recipe that is inspired by the book.
Book: Eat Fat, Lose Fat by Mary Enig and Sally Fallon
Summary: This is a whole-foods based approach to weight loss which outlines a high-fat (mostly from coconut oil) diet with limits on grains and nuts. It includes lots of helpful information and reviews of other diet plans, and includes shopping lists and menu plans. It includes three phases, “Quick and Easy Weight Loss”, “Health Recovery” and “Everyday Gourmet”. Calorie counts are also included on the weight loss plan. There are many recipes as well.
- Includes sound scientific and medical information to debunk the “all fat is bad” myth.
- Recipes range from very simple to more “exotic”, but the range of ingredients remains typical to meats, eggs, dairy, and in-season vegetables.
- A “7-day” checklist is provided to help you prepare to start the diet, guiding you through the “baby steps” necessary to begin!
- Minimal “supplements” are required for the weight loss plan, except for a good quality cod liver oil. There are some recommended superfoods for health recovery.
- Health recovery has a whole catalogue of ailments and gives specifics in how to use the diet to heal various chronic illnesses and conditions.
- No “faddy” products need to be purchased in order to do the diet (like pills, bars, shakes, or pre-packaged foods)
- There is a really helpful list of ways to use coconut oil for external purposes in the back of the book.
- The book includes a wonderful “resources” section for recommended brands of foodstuffs to purchase that are diet-friendly.
- The book offers alternatives for dairy-allergic people.
- This diet takes a lot of commitment to changing your lifestyle. You need to be willing to do a “pantry purge”. This is not necessarily a con, but for some it could be!
- Diet would be very expensive if you aren’t able to make your food from scratch.
- This plan takes a lot of work. (Again, not a bad thing, just a warning. I think it’s very doable if you have time to prepare fresh meals)
- Unlike some diet approaches, this diet discourages snacking between meals. This might put you off at first, but actually I’ve found this method to be effective for me.
- The authors don’t encourage drinking much water to aid in weight loss. Instead, they limit liquid consumption to 3 glasses of raw milk per day as well as 2-3 glasses of a lacto-fermented beverage. Both of these are very good, but I do feel that drinking water (with a little sea salt added) is a great way to aid in detoxing.
Overall recommendation: Yes!!! This is a book I refer to again and again for information, recipes, and resources! One of my favorite recipes is for the “coconut candies”. These are little melt-in-your-mouth ice cube snacks that are low-carb and a great way to get coconut oil down. It is recommended that 1 cube be eaten about 20 minutes before a meal to help the body’s metabolism and prevent overeating. Here is my version, and I’ve tweaked this a lot. I think it’s my best and simplest ever!
1.5 cups coconut oil
3/4 cup of almond butter
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
6 drops of stevia concentrate, or to taste
Combine all ingredients in a food processor or melt gently in a saucepan. Pour into an ice cub tray and freeze for about 20 min. This makes 18 candies (about a week’s supply on the diet).
Congratulations Erica Gott! You hit the nail on the head.
Everyone else who commented did a great job and came very close; but Erica gets 100%!!.
#1. Even though I don’t often buy tropical fruits, I will be tempted with a pineapple from time to time, and pineapple vinegar is a great way to utilize the leftover skin and core!
#2.What better way to use pineapple vinegar than cortido!?!
#3. This was a tricky one. It’s coconut kefir. The purple “blob” is my kefir grain, which was dyed purple after living in my grape juice for a while!
#4. Everyone came really close on this one. These were fermented sweet potatoes. I attempted these for my baby Jonathan, but he didn’t particularly like them. Oh well.
#5. This last one was clabbered raw milk , which can be used to make whey and cream cheese.
Great job, and thank you to all who participated! I plan to do more fun things like this in the future, so please stay tuned!!!!
In that vein, I have recently stopped shopping at big box grocery stores (with the exception of Costco occasionally) in favor of farm-direct purchases (for meat, dairy, and most produce), Azure standard (they are about 50 miles east of Portland, for staples), and New Seasons Market (which is locally owned and operated, here in Portland).
But then, there’s Trader Joe’s! Oh, how I love(d) Trader Joe’s. Well, actually I have a love-hate relationship with Trader’s, and have struggled to reconcile the things I love about it for the things I don’t like.
I used to love TJ’s for all of the “good” boxed items they had that were so much cheaper than their Health Food Store counterparts. It was great for snacks, canned foods, frozen entrees, etc. Even though I try not to buy that stuff anymore, I still see the merit in knowing where to find it if you’re out of commission and need some “better” processed food.
So, after eliminating most boxed stuff from my shopping list and rethinking the way I purchase food, I started to think about what was left for me at Trader’s.
And then it hit me: Trader’s.
I started thinking about how folks ate “back then” (you know, when our grands and great-grands were little). I remember my husband telling me a story of how his grandfather would covet the orange he received in his stocking once a year at Christmas. I am just now understanding why an orange would be such a rarity!!! By the way, I have stopped purchasing oranges and bananas because I simply do not see a need for them! I won’t judge you if you do, but I personally want to see how much local produce I can live on without having to get food from another hemisphere.
OK, so back to Trader’s. In the old days, people ate mostly what they hunted, grew, or what their neighbors hunted or grew. And then, there were those exotic things that you could never grow where you lived (like bananas?!) and you purchased them from “traders”. These were special things that you savored and used sparingly.
When I started to look at Trader Joe’s as a place to purchase specialty items, I felt more reconciled to the fact that I could enjoy the savings that TJ’s offers without being tempted by all the processed food in earthy, hip packaging.
Here are my rules for shopping at TJ’s :
- Be absolved of the need to buy local
- Do not buy produce or bakery products (except perhaps sprouted bread, most everything else is a rip-off IMHO)
- Item must be plain, unprocessed food and as close to its natural state as possible,with as few ingredients as possible.
- Item must be something that I could not get locally.
- Item must be something I could not make myself.
- Any meat purchased must meet my meat rules.
If I stick to the above rules, I can usually get out of TJ’s without spending more than $50. If I stick to my rules, I can usually milk TJ’s for the best of what it has to offer while remaining true to my thrifty oreganic principles. I go to TJ’s about once every two weeks normally, and purchase items that last a while. With that in mind, here is a list of what I purchase regularly (or as needed) at TJ’s:
*kalamata olives, toasted sesame oil, balsamic vinegar, organic peanut butter (although I sometimes make my own), organic ketchup (also something I’m going to start making), grade B maple syrup (processed w/o formaldehyde), pure vanilla extract, canned sardines
*kerrygold butter (best price!), Parmesan cheese (they have a raw one for a great price)
*applegate farms uncured turkey bacon (sometimes), prosciutto, pancetta (also sometimes, TJ’s sells uncured versions of both), uncured beef franks
*blueberries, raspberries, shrimp
*blu italy sparkling water (occasionally), savory rice crackers (occasionally)
*SLS free shampoo (this is for my kids and hubby, I make my own for myself), Bronner’s peppermint soap, dishwasher soap (earth-friendly, although I do hope to start making this soon too!), dish soap. all-purpose cleaner, hand soap. TJ’s prices are the BEST on these and the quality of the products rivals Seventh Generation and the like.
I’m sure I’ve forgotten something, but this is generally what I would consider the BEST DEALS at Trader Joe’s. Your mileage may vary, of course, especially if your family does grains. When we were still eating wheat, I bought Ezekial 4:9 bread at TJ’s at it was definitely the best price around!
On what additional items do you think TJ’s has the best deal? Please leave a comment!
Maybe it’s because I was FOB all day Tuesday due to this nasty bug that hit SW Portland with a vengance (so it seems!), but as I slept and slept, and cooked not and cleaned not, I got to thinking about laziness. Perhaps it was also watching my dear little lettuce seedlings wilting as I could not water them, or my garden spot desparately in need of weeding and preparation so that I might actually plant said seedlings…..whatever it was, laziness was on the mind.
Not in a self-accusatory way, mind you. We all need our rest. In fact, I’ve come to appreciate the annual (if that) stomach bug that plagues our house (it has been three years since we were all wiped like this, thankfully) and call it the “spring detox”and a good excuse to be, well, FOB*.
But when one who strives to be thrifty and a DIYer no longer has her strength, one quickly realizes the place for “convenience food” in the home. Ideally, it would be a week’s worth of nourishing, organic, all-natural meals frozen individually (and homemade of course), and a jar full of freshly cultured kombucha in the fridge, and homemade applesauce to pull out of the freezer, and of course, good old chilcken broth!
A stockpile, if you will, for those times with you must (or want to!) be lazy!
Thankfully, Trader Joe’s is in some ways the next best thing. Ok, well for my budget it is. The next best thing would be having your mother in law who cooks everything from scratch come camp out in your house for a week, but that’s not always possible !!! But I was thankful that TJ’s carried affordable and relatively “natural”
*Free range chicken broth
*Rice crackers (we don’t do wheat)
*Sparkling water with lemon (for those upset tummies)
*Frozen “comfort food” that’s wholesome (TJ’s claims their products do not contain MSG)
So, in a pinch, they can help. Ideally, next time this hits I’ll have a better arsenal (although I was able to make delicious chicken broth in the crock pot and forget about it until I needed it) for fighting the flu bug with natural foods.
So, back to the regular schedule postings to come! As soon as my appetite comes back, that is! It’s no fun blogging about food when it makes you queezy!
As always, thanks for reading!
*FOB: A summer camp term, meaning “flat on back”, used to indicate rest time. FYI
Ok, yogurt makers! You are now 12 hours away from creamy, homemade yogurt!
I want to give my friend Kathleen K credit for sharing this method with me. I researched lots of different methods to make yogurt, and all seemed very daunting to me because they required lots of equipment that I didn’t have or just took too long. This is the easiest way to make yogurt that I’ve found, and it makes incredible results!
First, gather the materials listed in the last post (at the bottom of the page).
4. Place the candy thermometer (if using) inside the milk. Boil the milk to 180 degrees. This step kills competing bacteria. Remove the jar from the boiling water bath.
5. When milk has cooled to 110 (or “when you can place your
finger in the milk and count to ten” thank you George Papas), take 1 Tbs of starter (from Brown Cow or whatever plain yogurt you want). Stir and cover tightly with lid.
6. Wrap the yogurt tightly in a wool or warm blanket and place in cooler.
7. After 8 hours, check the yogurt for consistency and taste. I usually leave mine for about 12 hours for the consistency I like.
Hint: If you begin this process at 7 pm, you’ll be able to enjoy fresh yogurt for breakfast the next morning!!
1. Generally, the yogurt will be “sweeter” if you culture for 8 hours, and more tart for longer.
2. Culturing yogurt is very temperature-dependant. Results may vary based on the season!
3. If the resulting culture is too “wheyish”simply strain a bit of the whey off.
4. If you want Greek yogurt, strain the whey off for about 4 hours or so. Basically, the longer you strain, the closer you’ll get to cream cheese (which is really good too!)
If you’re like me, you grew up eating yogurt from the supermarket. It was delicious! It was green, red, blue, or sometimes even orange. Sometimes it had “fruit on the bottom” that you could stir into the yogurt. If it was low or nonfat, you could be especially guilt free eating it. Sometimes, you could find exotic flavors such as cappuccino or black forest cherry. You were happy when you ate it for breakfast because you knew it was such a healthy thing to eat.
Until one day, you started reading the label. You saw a long list of ingredients, including High Fructose Corn Syrup, Red #40, gelatin, and pectin. And you noticed that under the Nutrition Information, your little cup of goodness was boasting over 30 grams of sugar per serving!!!!!! A Snickers bar would have been healthier from that perspective!
So, then you might have had a yogurt “conversion experience” that brought you into the lite, so to speak. You dabbled around with “sugar free versions” only to be left with that bad aspartame experience and thus you decided to search for the Real yogurt—what yogurt was meant to be.
At that point, you might have met a girl named Nancy and discovered that tart, plain goodness of “plain yogurt”. And you got all preachy about how good plain yogurt was and you added your own honey and your own blueberries and were happy…..until you read the ingredients on day, and you realized that your yogurt, while free of dyes and added sugars, still contained something more than just “milk and cultures”. You saw pectin, powdered nonfat milk, perhaps gelatin. And there it was again, that 20+ grams of sugar per serving. What’s the DEAL? You asked!!!
And then, you discovered Cream Top. Delicious, pure, unadulterated and low in sugar Cream Top. And what’s better, you discovered how to make it! Organic, grass-fed, fresh yogurt.
Stay tuned………and this treat can be yours too!
If you want to get ready, here’s what you’ll want to gather to use my ultra easy no-frills, no gagetry yogurt procecure:
A quart size mason jar
A candy thermometer (this is a must)
A warm wool blanket or a towel
A cooler (those Styrofoam kind can be purchased at Grocery Outlet for $1)
1 small carton of PLAIN Brown Cow Whole Milk Yogurt
Organic, grass-fed (or whatever you can get) milk!
You get your gear,and meet me back here for the easiest, de-mystifying procedure ever!