Friday, March 1, 2013

What Do Your Leftovers Look Like?

I had a moment to smile this morning as I opened the fridge and this happy sight met me back.  This is the current leftovers on the shelf.  I was happily struck with something rather important.

I have worked very hard to change the way our family eats.  Back when I was couponing a few years ago, that same door opening would have been greeted me with a much different view.  There would have been jars of Ragu spaghetti sauce and jelly loaded with sugar because that's what I could have gotten for nearly free.  Food containing lots of preservatives and more sugar and salt then anyone could possibly want in their body.  I started reading about how bad all of that mass produced food is for the planet and our bodies and decided I wanted to go another way.  To keep myself and my boys as healthy as possible, some changes were going to have to be made. 

This shelf also greets me with leftovers that were nearly free as well.  And so much better for our bodies.  This shelf contains strawberry jam with strawberries I picked from a local CSA and made into jam using almost no sugar.  The flavor is unlike anything you will find in the grocery store.  It tastes like fresh berries spread on toast.  The tomato sauce is from a mix of tomatoes I grew in our garden, costing me only the price of the plants.  Some of these plants were even free as my friend overgrew and gave them to me.  The yellow wax beans I grew in the garden, again costing me the price of seeds.  Behind the jam is a bag of freezer cucumbers, which I grew myself along with the onions that were included in the recipe.  The little jar of wild Maine blueberry preserves in the front was not canned by me, but by Music Man's aunt, who has a business home canning her local products and selling them.  Yes, indeed, this is the sight I much prefer to greet me when I open that door.  Now, we're not perfect, and I'm not an all or nothing girl.  We do still have Cheez-its in the house because I can't get Music Man to give them up, and there's plenty of things like the almond milk you can also see in this picture, but so much less then there used to be for certain.

The shelves in the basement that store the food look a whole lot different now as well.  When couponing, they would have held boxes upon boxes of processed cereal, crackers, rice mixes, pasta salad boxes, peanut butter made with sugar and salt, jelly with too much sugar, and more ingredients that I couldn't pronounce then I even want to think about now.  Now, those same shelves contain rows of home grown and canned tomatoes, sauce, jams, beans, corn, apples, apple sauce, peaches, chicken and vegetable stock and salsas. 

That is a much more comforting sight then ever.  I grew it.  I canned it.  I can feed my family no matter what.   That coupled with the fact that our internal organs are no longer steeped in chemicals, high fructose corn syrup, sugar and salt makes all the difference in the world to me.  And I know we are healthier for it.

This weekend, I will be sitting down to plan what is going in the garden this year.  And what will be sitting on those same shelves in those same jars in the autumn and winter. Lots of work?  Yes.  Genuine life?  Most certainly.  Healthier?  You bet. 

Spring is springing soon, what's going in your garden?  What's your favorite food to put by in the fall? 

I'd love to hear your plans for full shelves come autumn,  ~Peacemom

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