I know many people purchase toaster ovens because they want to be more "green." They love the energy efficiency a toaster oven can provide. With that in mind, I will be sharing some tips with you on how to "go green" without spending a ton of money. These tips may not be directly related to a toaster oven, but rather to the lifestyle many toaster oven owners are looking for. Enjoy!
There are lots and lots of great reasons to eat only organic food. It is the best choice for your health and the health of the environment. So why doesn't everyone go organic? There is a higher cost associated with organic food. It costs more to produce food naturally and that cost is passed on to the consumer. There are, however, some things that you can do to make the switch to organic less costly.
There are basically four things you can do to eat organic for less money:
one- grow what you can
two- spend your food dollars wisely
three- make most of your food from scratch
four- don't waste anything
Each article in this series will address one specific change you can make in each of the four areas mentioned above.
One – Grow What You Can
Organic mixed greens or specialty lettuces are really good for you. But they will cost you about $9 a pound, a hefty price if you are shopping on a tight budget. Organic seeds to grow your own healthy greens cost about $2 and will produce up to 50 pounds of lettuce. They are easy to grow, as long as you are able to keep rabbits and other small critters from eating the greens first.
Just scatter your organic mixed lettuce/greens seeds and barely cover with dirt. Keep the ground moist until the plants are established. In less than a month, you will have tender baby lettuce and greens. They will reach full size in about 55 days, depending on the exact variety you use.
When it comes to the critters wanting to eat the lettuce, I find a guard dog to be the best option. It is not always feasible to leave a dog on alert 24 hours a day, so I just make it smell like there is. I take dog fur and scatter it around the perimeter of my garden. I haven't found a squirrel or rabbit willing to cross the fur line yet. I refresh it a few times during the growing season, about as often as I brush my dogs. If you don't have your own dog, ask a neighbor or the local dog groomer. They are usually more than willing to part with excess fur, although you should be ready to be on the receiving end of a few strange looks when you ask for the dog fur.
Two – Spend Your Food Dollars Wisely
Buying your food in season is the smart way to go. Organic produce will taste better and cost less when it is bought in season. Fruits and vegetables that are grown locally need less time to travel to the market; the shorter travel time leaves more nutrients in tact.
Three – Make Your Food From Scratch
When it comes time to dress those lovely organic greens and fresh local organic veggies, don't reach for a store-bought salad dressing. They are loaded with questionable ingredients (even most of the organic ones) and cost a lot more than homemade. If you have a food processor, you can easily make fresh dressings in less than a minute. Here is my favorite:
Put 2 large or 3 small garlic cloves into the work bowl of your favorite food processor. Pulse until well minced. Add two chicken eggs. Process until well blended. With the food processor running, slowly drizzle 3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil through the feed chute. The result is a very simple yet incredibly delicious creamy dressing.
On a side note, I get my eggs from a local farmer that I trust to raise clean, safe eggs. I am comfortable using the eggs raw in this recipe and others. If you don't have the same kind of trust in your egg supplier, use pasteurized eggs for your dressing.
Four – Don't waste anything
Those left over chicken egg shells can play a useful role in the garden. Garden slugs won't crawl over sharp shards of broken egg shells. Crumble the shells around the perimeter of any type of plants that attract slugs, such as greens, broccoli or cabbage. The egg shells will eventually break down and provide nutrients, like calcium, to the soil.
I hope I have inspired you to try new ways to go organic on a budget. Thanks for reading, see you in Part 8!