Sunday, March 16, 2008

Food for Thought

I cooked up a storm this weekend! From Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon, I made the following:

  • 1 loaf banana bread
  • 1 loaf honey-wheat bread
  • 2 loaves carrot-apple bread

    Just Regular Eats (food for the coming week):
  • couscous with feta and diced grape tomatoes
  • wilted spinach with garlic
  • curry zucchini and onions
  • black beans with garlic
  • brown rice
  • curry fried rice (I always do a rice dish with the previous week’s leftover rice)

    I also dehydrated some spinach. Central Market has been selling locally-grown triple-washed spinach for several weeks now and it occurred to me that I’m going to really miss it when the season for it is over. So I broke out the dehydrator and now have lots of dry, crunchy spinach leaves sealed in a freezer bag and residing in my freezer for some summer day when I want cheap spinach. Because it’s dehydrated and crumbles easily in this state, it would also be good for any sort of pasta Florentine dish—no chopping required, just crumble before rehydrating.

    I don’t know how many of you out there have been paying attention to the value of the dollar, the state of the American (and by extension, the world’s) banking system, and oil/gas prices, but it looks like we're in a situation that’s going to get worse before it gets better. And if you haven’t read up on what’s happening in the grain markets, the short answer is that prices of most grains, especially wheat, are also going up due to a number of factors including drought and wheat rust. Add in the higher cost of shipping now that diesel is at $4/gallon in a lot of places, and you’d have to be blind not to see where all this is trending for summer.

    If you don’t know how to cook cheap, now is a great time to start. With a rice cooker and a crock pot, you can have tasty meals for pennies, with about 5-10 minutes of actual time spent working in the kitchen. (Yeah, food takes longer than that to cook, but you don’t have to actually be present.) For the same amount of time a lot of folks spend at the drive-through breathing exhaust fumes, one can cook a cheap, healthy meal at home!

    I hope all the economic indicators are wrong or that a deus ex machina is about to swoop down and save us from the crazy confluence of problems driving the dollar down and the cost of everything up. But I’m not betting on it. Right now, $2.54 buys me a 5-pound bag of organic wheat flour. How many loaves of wheat bread can you buy for that price? If our economy doesn't get straightened out fast, how many do you think you'll be able to buy this summer?

    Food for thought, indeed.

    Recent Workouts
    Monday: 35 minutes elliptical, 10 minute row
    Tuesday: 6.5 mile run
    Wednesday: 45 minute spin, abs and weights
    Thursday: 35 minute elliptical, abs and weights
    Friday: scheduled rest day
    Saturday: 18 mile run
    Sunday: 2 hour spin, weights and abs


    Leah J.Utas said...

    It's never occurred to me to dehydrate spinach. I think I might give it a go this summer.
    It is awfully scary about the increasing price of wheat and everything else. I am gluten intolerant and bake my own bread anyway, but I'm sure spelt and rye will go up too.

    the Bag Lady said...

    Sheesh, I never thought to dehydrate it, either! I could have supplied half the country with dehydrated spinach last summer if I had realized....

    bunnygirl said...

    Leah- If you haven't already, you may want to stock up on the flours you use. It's what I'm doing. No need to go crazy with it, but as long as you'll use it before it goes bad, you might as well buy while prices are good.

    BL- Send your spinach here anytime!

    Copito said...

    Mmm yummie!

    Vickie said...

    Yes, I have been following the financial headlines, including grain prices. That's also why eggs and milk are so expensive! Too bad for the Easter bunny this year!

    Anonymous said...

    Yes indeed, Bunnygirl -- food for thought. I don't know what I'd do without my rice cooker and crock pot!

    And reading your post has made me hungry, everything sounds so yummy. :)

    Michele said...

    Ooh, thanks for that link to "A Weight Lifted!" I need to get back into a more active and healthy routine and that's a great site for motivation. I'm also going to try that banana bread recipe on the other site.

    I talked to my mom last week and she's quite distraught about the rising price of gasoline and food in the U.S. For elderly people on a limited income, it's a disaster. The big question is how long the recession will last. I hope the U.S. isn't headed for a ten-year-long slide like the one Japan is just emerging from...

    Ellie Hamilton said...

    Cool, you dehydrated spinach! How does it taste when rehydrated? Like the original?

    I'm debating whether to dehydrate food and have my husband mail it to me on the AT, or just buy packable food every few days in an off-trail town.

    Thanks to you, I tried couscous.... it's great! I like it and it's easy to cook, will work well on the trail, just boil water, add to couscous in a Baggie, "steep" 5 minutes while doing other chores, and it's done!

    From Here to There said...

    I never thought that a dehydrator could be used for spinach... why not! I don't own one, but sometimes think I should seek one out on a used site.

    I'm a big fan of the freezer though, and plan on expanding my veggie garden this summer to include beans, peas and greens. Nothing better than your own organic if you can swing it!

    I really hope the economy turns around pronto, but I don't think it's going to. Sadly I think there's going to be some climate impacts again as well (drought, flood, who knows) impacting the food production. Very smart post, good to get us thinking!