The Complete Kitchen Tour
With the Magnet Mindset, broth is (or can be) nearly free! This deeply nourishing, soul-satisfying elixir just requires a little purposeful planning. Making broth as a weekly routine — from meat products you’re already making for your family—is the key.
You’ve made the effort to source a quality meat product, so don’t stop there. Making broth gives you a product that makes a body strong, tall and beautiful. It’s definitely worth your time and costs very little extra.
For example, do you remember our little e-book, How to Get the Most From Your $15 Chicken? This is an excellent, doable pattern of cooking and preparing meals from an organic, whole chicken. Download and follow this just once and you’ll see for yourself the EXTRA value of purposeful cooking.
Then, build the broth process into your weekly routine. Make eating it an event: food should be fun!
In the end, your own creativity fuels the journey. I am smitten by clay cookers, but Laurie loves her crock pots. The method or container really makes no difference; just find your way and rock it!
(If you were inspired by this section of the course, I encourage you to re-watch our Broth class in the Table Transformation Course. There may be just one more little detail of preparation that can help you on your journey!)
I love my dairy farmer, and he loves me! Why? One simple reason: commitment.
I show my commitment by paying him in advance. Each month, I calculate what I need and pay him up front. This simple effort sends a strong message to my farmer that I value him and his product highly. My products are always ready and waiting for me at my designated pick-up time. It is a mutually respectful and considerate transaction–a truly enjoyable way to obtain food!
Since dairy is a significant part of our diet here, it is a significant part of my budget, AND begs for purposeful “real estate” in my refrigerator. I purchase basically the same items each week. I don’t make the same dairy items each week, but regardless of that, dairy is in the same location of my refrigerator for family members to find.
I choose to make my family’s favorite dairy items consistently, so when they open the fridge, they know where to find their favorite dairy foods. At the end of the week, I cull the refrigerator using all the leftovers, and begin the fun and creative process of putting each product to use in something special.
All that to say this: there is no waste. Therefore, my dairy dollar is used to its maximum benefit, not to mention that the Fiene household experiences maximum nutrition and satiation!
Jamie's Great Wall of Butter
The great wall of butter! Impressed? Don’t be. What you see here in my pantry is simply a decision away from having yourself!
Have you read about the nutritional powerhouse of spring and fall butter? Do it, because when you realize the health benefits of it, you, too, will annually purpose to obtain and store the product. Once done, you can easily skip that part of the grocery store offerings—and your family will be better-nourished as a result.
This has become an never-ending loop of desire-purchase-storage-consumption. Because I’ve purposed to get his in our diets, I purchase a year’s worth in-season, store accordingly, and always have it available for my table.
Don’t worry if your storage capacity isn’t what mine is now. As you grow in food wisdom, the accommodations somehow accompany it. (If you’ve been working toward a healing table for a while now, just remember where you were a year ago at this time!)
Also, maybe you don’t live in butter country! Maybe you live in olive country? Or coconut country? Or lard country?
That’s wonderful. You can take these principles and apply it to whatever your local, “geographical” fat is!
Don’t take what I do as a rule. Follow how I think and use that as your inspiration.
Fruits and Veggies
If there’s one lesson to take away from this section, it’s this:
Buy in in bulk, buy in season.
This requires some purpose and planning, and will take a while to implement. But start: the payoff in flavor and cost savings will be tremendous. Nutrition is high in perfectly ripe produce, and the cost is low. In addition, buying locally (as much as possible) assures me quality produce at the best flavor possible.
For example, I put up a bushel of sweet bell peppers, two hundred pounds of purple potatoes, and gallons of green beans…you get the picture.
There is great variety from year to year as to what fruits and vegetables that I preserve, because it’s all according to seasonal availability. If it doesn’t meet my intention for local and organic, I don’t substitute with anything less in my storage plan.
For example, when peaches are plentiful, I have my family favorite recipes ready to make the best of it. I keep a minimum of five such recipes handy during in-season consumption, and will freeze, dehydrate, or store whatever is left over. If the local peach crop fails, we do without. Often, in that case, another fruit may be plentiful and take the place of peaches in my storage budget.
Only purchasing what your family will eat is a budgetary strategy in and of itself. Often, the grocery store mentality of buying what is on sale has ‘trained’ us to try and eat everything they offer. But if that food rots, goes to waste, or simply doesn’t nourish your family, it does NOT save you money, does it?
Plan to locally source ONLY that which your family loves, and purpose to preserve and serve it in a variety of ways.
The good news is out! Fizzy Foods (i.e. lacto-fermented foods) are a beneficial and healing food, and more and more people are making and marketing these ferments.
Time to consider your options in how you want to provide this crucial food to your family. From a budgeting perspective, you might want to do your homework because there can be a huge price discrepancy between homemade, locally-sourced, and grocery store ferments.
Here is the budget in my kitchen—and what it would cost me to buy fizzy foods at a store or from a producer. Take a look at the numbers and make your own decision.
FIZZY FOOD COST
4 gallons homemade = roughly $10 for salt and cabbage
4 gallons purchased = approximately $240
12 gallons homemade = roughly $16 for salt and beets (locally grown)
12 gallons of purchased beet kvass = approximately $720
ASSORTED VEGGIE FERMENTS
6 gallons homemade ferments = approx. $10 for salt and veggies (locally grown)
6 gallons purchased ferments = approximately $360
Do you see why I make my own ferments? And why it was a good investment to get an extra fridge to house them?
With purposeful Kitchen Magnet Mindset planning and a little time investment, my annual cost for making fizzy foods is negligible ($36.00 at most) in comparison to buying ($1320.00) what my family needs.
Let’s see…$36.00 (at most) VERSUS $1320.00. Wow. I think there’s a few dollars saved there that may support an appliance purchase or two!
This again is a food category where skipping it altogether is NOT an option. I am making the rules for health and consumption at my healing table. Fizzy foods are a necessity.
For us all, it comes down to having either the time or money, and of course, how many fizzy foods your family requires. Whatever you decide, including them in your diet is the very best way to get probiotics, and that, my friends, is worth the price.
How do I love beans? Let me count the ways! Brownies, cakes, sauces, sides, snacks, hummus, boiled, baked and fried and then refried! Flavors range from sweet to savory to hotter’n blazes!
I like to think of beans as a nutrient-dense fast food… or at least, the way that I do it, they can be:
When I cook beans—always soaking first, of course!—I do so in bulk in a large crock pot and then freeze in wide mouth pint jars. This is such an essential in our diet that I designate the wall of one of my freezers to it.
At the beginning of the week I place a couple of jars of frozen beans in my refrigerator, and they are thawed and ready whenever I am. I rotate my crock pot bean-making every month: black beans, pinto beans, lentils…you get the idea.
Budget-wise beans are a hands down MUST around my kitchen. Not just because we love their flavor and versatility, but also because you simply cannot compete with the price. Purchased in bulk, beans can be priced under $1 per pound. We go through 1-2 pounds of dried beans per week so annually this amounts to under $100.
And as if that were not amazing enough all on its own, you can also factor in the reduction in meat cost considering the two meatless dinners per week dedicated to our favorite bean dishes. Beans are an excellent tasty budget boost so they get the best real estate in my freezer—second only to the Great Wall of Butter. Yeah baby!
Okay, let’s tackle meat: the great budget-buster!
Meat is a significant expense. It’s going to cost you—it just will.
Rest assured, though, that if you adopt the Magnet Mindset, your budget can and will handle quality meat. It is not a matter of buying garbage meat to (purportedly) save you money, but a matter of how you perceive, purpose, and handle the process of getting quality, natural meats. Everyone will do it differently, but it CAN BE DONE. You’ll just need to tailor your options to what suits your budget and tastes best.
Lets dig in:
First, using your Kitchen Magnet Mindset, determine what meat your family likes and what you can obtain locally.
As an example, on my list is beef, chicken and pork. Depending on where you live, your list may include turkey, lamb, goat…the list goes on!
Second, let’s do the math. In my case, I start with chicken.
I make one chicken per week so that equates to about 50 chickens per year. At $4/lb., 200 lbs. of chicken will cost $800.
Remember that with the meat comes gravy, bone broth, and offals. Depending on family size and meal preferences, one chicken can stretch for 3-5 meals (think pot pie, chicken and dumplings, sour cream chicken enchiladas and chicken salad). Chicken is one of those wonderfully-stretchable meats!
Now, for beef. We use about 3 lbs. of beef weekly, at $6/lb.
That is 150 lbs. for an annual cost of $900. Remember that with the beef comes bones and offals — just as you can stretch the chicken, so you can the beef. Think classic dishes such as stroganoff, chili and fajitas—many ways to prepare using only one pound of beef. We also make salami out of ground beef, for our favorite mobile table food and snack. This utilizes the fat, as well. Bonus!
For pork, we use 2 lbs. per week at $4 per pound for an annual cost of $400. We use the bones for soup stock and to cook beans in. Most of our pork comes in the form of breakfast sausage and bacon, but we utilize the hocks (FREE!) as well as the offals (FREE!). What we do not eat, we use as dog food. Waste not, want not.
When you plan PURPOSEFULLY, it makes a huge budgetary difference.
Remember to have 5 family favorite recipes for your meat, so you have a happy little rotation going and you’ll find that you have no waste. Ask any mother of many children, and you will hear that this is so — kids are happy when their favorite foods appear again and again!
Make a dedicated place for each meat category in your freezer so you can manage your storage space well…so well, that you can tell at a glance what your next meal needs to be! Your checkbook—and your family—will thank you.
Finally, if you think that spending a significant amount on meat per year is unreasonable, please consider:
What the average American spends on eating out
What the average American spends on vacations
What the average American spends on being sick
Or to put it more bluntly, have you priced cancer lately? Good food is worth it. Health is priceless. Do whatever you need to do to maintain and defend it.
“Health is a crown on the healthy man’s head, but the only one who sees it is the sick man.”
Something to ponder.
Eating, Storing, and Dehydrating Fruit & Vegetables
When it comes to fruits and vegetables, the general rule is…you want the best. And that comes fresh and in-season.
When veggies and fruit are at their peak of both ripeness and quantity, learn to work them en masse into your daily meals. You can steam, saute, grill, boil, juice, smoothie-ize and ferment. For example, I dearly love sweet corn, and eat it daily during the six-week season here in Ohio.
How many times do I buy sweet corn the rest of the year? ZERO. Why? Because it doesn’t get any better or tastier than buttery, salty sweet corn in-season. I’ve come to learn that if you eat your fill of favorites during their peak ripe season, you are less likely to pay the high out-of-season cost to enjoy substandard taste and texture from the grocery stores. Ever noticed how much out of season tomatoes taste like cardboard?
With that in mind, vegetables are too vital to ignore during the winter. So one of my favorite ways to make sure we have them all winter is… dehydrating.
Dried vegetables are used in soups nine months out of the year; salads, casseroles, spices are used year-round. If I grow my own vegetables, it radically reduces my vegetable cost on an annual basis. If I buy in-season, best-price scenario, and in bulk, then my cost is still negligible compared to weekly vegetable buying from the grocery (not to mention, not knowing where/how those vegetables were grown!).
The benefit of dehydrated storage is obvious: twelve dozen ears of corn in a freezer is sizeable. Twelve dozen ears of corn dehydrated is a gallon jar.
Once you’re in the “magnet mindset,” you’ll quickly get an idea of what vegetables you’ll use a lot! Then you plan around them. For example, I use a lot of peppers, tomatoes, onion, garlic and zucchini. Those then become my focus in seasonal growing, sourcing, buying, and storage.
So, let’s break down our Good/Better/Best, shall we?
Good is buying vegetables locally (grocery store, manager’s specials, organic-preferred, special order) in-season and storing in amounts according to your family’s usage.
Better is knowing more about who is growing it, what they are putting into it, and purchasing those better fruits and veggies in-season to put by.
Best is knowing (or being!) your farmer, ordering in advance, purchasing in bulk for best price and efficient processing (ex: bring home a bushel, process that bushel, place in storage jars, and you’re DONE). If you grow it yourself, your only consistent cost outlay is for seeds and jars.
Make the choices that work for you. Make your storage space work for you. That bit of extra mental effort is worth it.
Storage 2, Canning
Canning isn’t the ideal way to preserve the harvest, but it’s necessary in my life. Laurie and I both can food, but it’s simply because we refuse to purchase store bought tomatoes (or other vegetables) because of all the unknowns: who grew them, in what soil, what was it sprayed with, how was it canned, and what chemically happens to acidic tomatoes that sit in contact with metal for long periods of time?
You get the idea.
Therefore, I can.
For me, canning is done in one fell swoop.
A friend and I process and can from sun up to sun down several days of the late summer. That is it for the year. We purchase bushels of tomatoes from a local farmer for about $16 per bushel and go to work. The cost is minimal.
The hours are grueling, but we make the best of it by making it a party atmosphere. She always brings something yummy to eat or drink, and I make a huge pot of soup. The kids and hubbies pitch in happily, but by the end of the day or late afternoon, it is usually just her and I in the summer kitchen finishing up the last of the canning.
I have to admit that when I see the wall of glass bottles with all our hard work displayed, I do feel a tinge of pride. This year we had a bumper crop of blackberries so we canned blackberry curd. This was amazing. (It’s now on my list to make forevermore and amen!)
The cost is minimal because we buy in bulk and do all the work ourselves. If you have more money than time you can purchase organic in glass at the store, pay your local farmer to can it for you (which is very reasonable I might add), or have a canning party to celebrate being able to bloom where you are planted, Foodwifery style!
(We have a super-duper Member’s Choice Canning Class where Laurie and I show you how we do it. Check it out on the Member’s Home page. Make a point to study and learn the process in the off-season, so that when the tomatoes become available, you are ready to go!)
Budgeting for sourdough bread in the Fiene household doesn’t take many math skills or effort as we use precious little wheat.
However, I know that many of you (Laurie, included) have a significant part of your budget allocated to quality bread grains, which can be costly.
Fortunately, this is not a budget blow-out since we all choose our preferred carbs and omit other diet components. It all evens out. For example, Laurie buys wheat and spelt, over rice, oats, quinoa, and other grains.
Utilizing this mindset to make family favorite sourdough recipes regularly, will enable you to not only be purposeful in their use, but will facilitate simplicity and economic frugality.
If you couple that concept with bulk grain buying (split with a friend, if necessary), 3 to 5 family favorite recipes, and proper storage—well, you can get the most bang for your buck
Beans and Nuts
Many people spend a pretty penny on nuts and legumes. I used to be one of them…until I learned better!
Grocery stores package beans in fun and colorful ways to entice the non-cook to purchase promising yumminess and easiness in three super-simple steps.
That “yumminess” usually consists of two things: 1) beans, a very inexpensive item, and 2) a slew of “natural” flavors. These flavors are usually one or more of the 50+names for MSG, a “flavor enhancer” (read: TOXIN) that no one wants in their food, let alone their body.
Again, purposefulness is the key here. Use the Magnet Mindset. YOU choose what to buy on purpose and ahead of time; that is, BEFORE you arrive at the grocery store, hungry and in a hurry and with dinner due in eighteen minutes! (No guilt…we’ve all been there!)
So, in contrast, buy in bulk the nuts and legumes that you know you can serve. Plan for success, think long-term, and arm yourself with 3-5 favorite recipes to calculate your needs.
Each quarter (think: season!), I take a look at my nuts and legume category and choose which nuts and legumes I want, or are in-season, or are least expensive, etc.
Because we eat the same beans year round, bean choices and purchases are made annually. Purchasing dried beans in-bulk is the most cost effective way to go. The nuts, however, are chosen throughout the year according to what is available and in-season—again with 3-5 recipes in mind.
This way, I am never tempted to buy the fancy-pants box of “fiesta pinto beans,” because I KNOW my kids will eat my Killer Refried Beans like their hair is on fire!
Healthy and happy! Win-win!
(Please see our Grains, Nuts, and Legumes class in the Table Transformation Course, on how to properly soak and cook legumes. It’s SO important to execute the soaking process of ALL of these foods, before cooking and consuming. We teach you all about it!)
BONUS: Salts and Sweeteners
So much of what Laurie and I make for our families is nutrient-dense and satiating, but very simple. Take bread for an example. Bread is flour, water and salt. Pastured meat, when simply brined and roasted, will produce tremendous flavor and nutrition. Total ingredients? Three: water, salt, and meat. See what I mean?
But here’s the thing: when a recipe has so few ingredients, the ingredients must be quality. This is essential in the traditional, healthy kitchen.
So many staples that we serve our families in the Foodwifery philosophy consist of precious few ingredients. Quality is essential and salt is on the top of the list! (Wars have been fought over this simple seasoning!)
Educate yourself on the difference between inferior and superior salts. We often have long discussions on this subject in the Foodwifery FB community. The Weston Price Foundation, (link: http://westonprice.org), also offers in-depth science on the role of superior salt in our health.
Quality salt might seem to be expensive. Have you priced those cute little salt containers in the fun stores? Yeah, me too. I am a sucker for a cute little jar and when you add in the adorable wooden spoon, I am smitten!
However, my budget is not.
The good news is that salt does not have to be a major hit on your budget. It really doesn’t. You just need to know what type of salt you desire, where you intend to get the best deal, and then purchase on an annual or semi-annual basis.
This being the case for me, I get a little more bang for my buck by purchasing not only salt for my kitchen, but to give coarse or fine ground salt, salt scrubs, and seasoned salt (SOS in the Foodwifery recipe box!) as gifts to my family and friends. I love to give useful gifts that nourish.
I mean, who doesn’t use salt?
In short, don’t let the current “experts” talk you out of brining with, soaking with, cooking with, and consuming real, mineral-rich salts. Our bodies need them! They are crucial to human digestion.
Simply be purposeful in your salt purchases — buy annually and in bulk—and do not buy the cute little bottles of salt…except maybe for gift giving!
Sweetener choices are as different as our kitchens and families.
If you like to bake, sweeteners become an important part of your pantry and budget selection. Others, not so much. But either way, making the choice annually, semi-annually, or even quarterly is the purposeful Foodwifery way to execute both economic and bodily health.
Purposeful means that the decision is not rushed because you have kids shopping with you who are on a schedule, or a very hungry husband waiting in the car, or making a quick grocery run between meals. You get the idea.
By sitting down periodically and making the decision based on budget, family preferences, holidays and special occasions, local availability, etc., YOU will get the upper hand in spending, and can certainly make the dollars that you have s-t-r-e-t-c-h.
Once done, you can again eliminate just one more grocery store department because you’ve got it covered! No temptation to buy sweets or sweeteners—no matter what’s on sale!
You are on your way to consistently produce family favorites that translates in LESS mindless snacking, and the peace that comes from knowing what your family is ingesting.
Planning ahead gives you the mind-space to keep your eyes open for opportunities at farmers’ markets, bartering with friends, taking advantage of produce windfalls.
It means that when the local produce stand is giving away over-ripe peaches, you’ll be in the position to take an afternoon to process them for your family for FREE!
Your planning and budgeting success is a foundation for taking advantage of such things. There is no shame in keeping your eyes peeled for freebies. Just stay flexible, knowing that with each blessing, your diligence is required to put it up. But the yield in nurturing a healing table is many-fold!