Erin's self-sufficiency blog

Dedicated to sharing my efforts in radical homemaking, self-sufficiency, simplicity, and general craftiness on a very, very small budget.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A busy week

First of all, I wanted to say that I found the photo of the yoghurt. It looks a little weird but you'll get the idea.

Next, I want to lecture you on something. If you want to eat nutritious food for not very much money, you have to learn to make Indian vegetarian. I heard a quote once that there is no reason for poor Brits (this could also apply to Americans) to eat a thousand times worse than poor Indians. You need lentils, spices, rice, some vegetables, and maybe some yoghurt. The most important spices are cayenne pepper, turmeric, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and maybe some garam masala. I made a dish with a dhal, which is basically lentils cooked in a bunch of water, with some turmeric and salt. Then you fry the mustard seeds and cumin seeds, and when they are brown fry the turmeric and cayenne. Then dump the whole shebang into the lentils. In this particular instance I added some tamarind, which might be hard to find, depending on where you are. I also added a little brown sugar. For the vegetable I fried some garlic and ginger with the same spices (plus a little ground coriander, but that's not strictly necessary) then I threw in some potatoes, peas, and carrots. Then I added some water and covered it until it was cooked. I also made raita, using the homemade yoghurt, plus some lime juice, salt, and chopped cucumber. Then I cooked some brown rice. That's it. The healthiest I've ever been was when I subsisted mainly on Indian vegetarian. In fact, I've decided to become a weekday vegetarian and eat more of this kind of thing.

I gave myself a pretty successful haircut this week. Luckily I have curly hair and can hide all the mistakes. I don't have a picture because I hate having my photo taken.

We did some baking this week. I made bread. I usually make a whole wheat bread, with a little honey or brown sugar in it. I don't have two loaf pans so I shape them into a shape called a batard. When you bake bread, you should try to bake at least two loaves at once so that you don't end up costing in power the same that it would cost you to just buy the bread. Ideally you should bake four or five at a time but my mixer can only support two loaves and I usually don't have enough ingredients for four at any given time.

We also made homemade cookies. I used a whole wheat poppyseed cookie from the Enchanted Broccoli Forest cookbook by Mollie Katzen. They were tasty and not too sweet. The dough was really ugly, it was sort of grayish. The finished cookies look fine. I also should note that instead of eggs, I used flax seeds mixed with water. I learned this from a vegan cookbook. For baking, one tablespoon of flax seeds plus three tablespoons of water equals one egg. I like that you can sneak a little extra nutrition in there.

Finally, I want to recommend a book. It's called Make Your Place: Affordable, Sustainable Nesting Skills by Raleigh Briggs. Its focus is on health and first aid, cleaning and body care, and gardening. I'm most interested in the health and first aid and body care sections. I haven't heard much about DIY in those subjects, and it's such a sweet little book. I think it's a good complement to my other favorite homemaking book, The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking: Decorating, Dining, and the Gratifying Pleasures of Self-Sufficiency--On a Budget by Kate Payne. Its focus is on decorating, cleaning, gardening, mending clothes, fixing the house, and food preparation. I like to have all these resources around. For example, I'm pretty good at cooking (having gone to culinary school and working in restaurants and such) and I have many gardening books (but no garden), but I suck at decorating, and have no idea how to do healthcare myself. I think my next project is going to be salves. I plan on making a dry skin salve and a sore muscle salve. The procedure is similar to making lip balm.

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