Since making the big change to paleo, do you ever look at your bank account and just totally have a heart attack?
Happens to me a lot.
Too much. I seriously, seriously stress over food costs. And money in general. On the one hand, I want to do the right thing (buy local, buy organic), on the other hand, I want to keep my house. And my car. And my kids.
Sure, good food is important to health--pay for it now in healthy food, or later in medicine bills, all those sayings that justify the crazy food costs of a paleo diet. Whoever coined all those phrases obviously didn't have a household full of teens, large-breed dogs, a mortgage, cars and debt. All of these things came before learning about Paleo.
Is it just me???
Ok, I'm going to say something that is going to make me extremely unpopular.
Ready??? It is ok, and still totally Paleo, to shop at the grocery store, to buy food when it's on sale, to skip the organic and the grass-fed and finished meats. Honestly.
Alright, let me finish.
Because you see, there is "optimum", and there is also "acceptable". It is optimal to eat grass-fed and finished, and optimal to eat organic produce. If you are diligent, you can find grass-fed beef for under $4/pound, and grass-fed free-range poultry and Tamworth pork for under $5/pound--and you can even find organic CSA's that are very reasonably priced. But it doesn't always happen that way. And not everyone has the large lump of money upfront to buy 250 lbs of pork or cow, no matter how reasonably priced it is. or the $550 to shell out for a CSA, months in advance of receiving the food.
Don't get me wrong, I am 100% in support of both of those things, of buying local, of getting to know and supporting your local farmers. But the truth is, if you are on a truly tight food budget, cost matters more than anything else out there.
When money is that tight, it no longer matters what the paleo-perfectionists have to say (or at least. it shouldn't matter). You can only do what you can afford to do. Did you know that stress is twice as bad for your body as grains are? So don't sweat it. Stretch the almighty dollar as far as you can--in fact, I challenge you to find new and innovative ways to do it! Anything you do or try is still better than your old diet that used to include grains, soy, legumes, processed foods and refined sugars anymore. That's a pretty big thing.
And for just one minute here,think about this, how much food do you throw away? (North) Americans throw out more food than any other nation.
So it is with all of this in mind, this week, and well into my overdraft even after just getting paid, that I am being as frugal as I possibly can, while still eating as well as I can. I'm making do with what I have, and I'm on a mission to waste nothing. Oh, how I wish that all the food I need would just materialize in my house, that I didn't have to shop for it. Food is expensive, but food should also be simple and stress-free. Open fridge, combine ingredients found in fridge. Make sure you use every last bit of that giant head of cabbage, use those broccoli stems and the bottoms of the asparagus (but peel them--I learned that one the hard way). It is all food. If you only knew what to do with it.
So on with the recipe, right?? ...
I didn't want to waste the bone from the lamb we cooked at Easter--so I threw it in the crock pot for 2 days (with water, apple cider vinegar, dehydrated onions and a bay leaf). Bone broths are very high in protein, gelatin, they're full of minerals and gut-healing properties--and I don't have to tell you that, right? You all know that. And you know what else? Lamb bones cooked into soup are far less gamey than the actual meat is when you roast it. It's a good way to start your non-lamb-eating family on the road to enjoying it.
After 2 days of slow-cooking, I found that almost 2 cups of meat, marrow and fat came off the bone.
This is more of a guideline than a true recipe. You can adjust or sub in anything you want to.
Scotch Broth Soup
4 cups lamb bone-broth
2-3 cups leftover lamb meat
3 cups cabbage, chopped fine
1 cup carrots, chopped fine
1/2 cup onion, chopped fine
1/2 can tomato paste
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
butter or other fat for frying
In a heavy pot or Dutch Oven, on medium heat, melt fat and saute onions until almost translucent. Add carrots and saute for a few minutes more. Add cabbage, tomato paste, vinegar, broth, and remaining meat, turn down to med-low, and simmer or half an hour.
Serve with these awesome biscuits...
(This recipe originally came from HERE with a couple of substitutions--the recipe was fantastic as-is, but I didn't want to spring for bacon this week, so instead I used up some cheddar cheese). If you eat dairy, cheese is a pretty cheap source of protein. Just saying.....
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup cheddar
1/2 cup spinach
1/4 cup onions
1/4 cup fat (I used bacon grease--cheap and available)
Preheat oven to 400F
Saute onions on medium heat in fat until translucent. Remove from heat and let cool a bit. In a bowl, mix coconut flour and baking soda. Add eggs to dry mixture, stir well. Add onions, all the melted fat from the pan, cheese and spinach. Form into balls and place on parchment-lined cookie sheet. I got 12 of them out of this recipe.
Bake 15 minutes until golden but still slightly tender to the touch.
All I needed to buy to make this recipe was a head of cabbage. I already had everything else in my fridge.
I think I'll be making a lot more soups in the future.