Tag Archives: cooking

The First Days are the Hardest Days (or are they?)

28 Jan

My second week of organic eating is drawing to a close, and so far it hasn’t been half bad. I have been relying heavily on my freezer stash and pantry full of non-organic food though, so I’d say it’s still too easy to make a fair judgment. (Still, I must say, life has gotten significantly better since I discovered the organic equivalent of Nutella, so one span of PMS has been survived without any major casualties…)

So, primary analysis… what’s easy?

1) Organic produce is easy. The veggie delivery service has brought me my first box last Tuesday, it’s a small one-person box that costs $20, and for the time being I’m signed up to receive it every other week. $10 a week for organic fruit & veggies is not half bad.

2) Sprouts are easy. On a friend’s suggestion/reminder, I picked up a small bag of organic alfalfa seeds for sprouting, and they sproute quite well even in the Arctic temperatures of my house. For $3.50, I’ll have enough sprouts for the next month or two. Granted, I haven’t found any uses for them besides salads (which I’m not a fan of) and sandwiches, but it’s still something.

3) Coffee is easy. All the coffeeshops in my area sell organic, fair trade, shade grown coffee, so I don’t have to be the nitpicky annoying customer that asks for it every time. (So far I haven’t been picky about whether they carry organic milk or cream, that’s something I might save for later stages of this experiment.)

4) Yogurt is easy. Organic milk is cheaper in bigger jugs, and homemade yogurt is cheaper than organic yogurt, even when it’s at clearance prices (which happens frequently here- the supermarket overstocks, then sells yogurt at $1-2 a tub). Plus no plastic wasted. Made my first batch today (all it takes is a pot and a blanket, I don’t know why on earth anyone would buy a yogurt machine), and it turned out just fine.

5) Granola bars are easy. Here, organic granola bars are way overpriced, and never go on sale. I found a recipe on the internet that allows me to make granola bars the way I like, for super cheap, minus all the wasted packaging. It does have one catch though- it calls for sweetened evaporated milk, for which there’s no organic alternative. It can be made from powdered milk, which is what I’ve done (Maya, my housemate, has a giant bag of it that she keeps for baking, and lets me share), but as far as I know organic powdered milk doesn’t exist, either. I may have to keep cheating on this one until I find a better alternative.

And here’s what’s hard:

1) Cheese is hard. I’m still going through the conventional cheese I had in the fridge, working my way through as slowly as possible. Once I run out, I’m in trouble. Organic cheese costs its weight in gold.

2) Traveling is hard. I take the ferry to Vancouver about once a week, and there’s absolutely no organic food on the ferry, and precious little that’s vegetarian (fries, soggy salad and sketchy sushi that comes in piles of plastic). I do my damn best to take my own food along, but sometimes I forget. Sometimes I run out, and am still hungry. Either way, the goal of this exercise is to eat mindfully and not to abuse my body, so I refuse to starve myself, and eat some less-junky food anyway. Still, knowing I’m breaking my “organic oath” makes me think about what I’m eating. Where did french fry come from? How did it get here? Where was the wheat for this bread grown? There will come a time, I’m hoping, when I master the art of traveling with enough organic food to last me the trip, but for now I’m still in the training stage.

To finish, a simple recipe that has become my new staple over the past week:

The New & Improved Grilled Cheese Sandwich:

– 2 slices of bread (homemade in bread machine, from the 20lbs of non-organic flour that I’m still working my way through)

– thin layer of tomato paste (organic)

– half an avocado, sliced (organic, stockpiled in our freezing guestroom to ripen over time when the price went down to $1 apiece, which is considered cheap this time of year even for conventionally-grown avocados)

– generous wad of sprouts (organic, homegrown)

– thin slice of cheese (non-organic for now, rationed out carefully)

Pressed in the sandwich grill with a touch of butter on top. Mmm.