Monday, June 28, 2010

I *heart* beer

This is no secret to those that know me. I blame my beer snob ways on my husband. I've really started to cut back on drinking the liquid of the gods due to being broke and wanting to be healthier. But I can't pass up a good opportunity to drink delicious, local brews for free.

Every year, Portland hosts the North American Organic Brewers Festival. Local and national breweries come and hock their organic wares in beautiful Overlook park in north Portland. I first signed up to volunteer last year out of sheer boredom and after all the free beer I got to drink I couldn't resist signing up again to pour this year. 

Another awesome aspect of the festival is the food. The festival requires all vendors to use compostable cutlery and there are recycling stations around the park to prevent the least waste possible. My favorite food cart, Viva Vegetarian Grill from Eugene, was there serving up delicious vegan cheesesteak sandwiches, hot dogs, soy sausages and tempeh reubens. If the cart wasn't 2 hours south, I think I would eat there every. freaking. day.

A taster of beer is one token and four ounces, and I had 20 tokens, just from volunteering. I enlisted the help of a friend for the imbibing on Sunday and it was an amazing day for being outside in Portland.

Flower of the Gods IPA from Lompoc (my favorite brewery)

Viva Cheesesteak with awesome cashew cheese

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mo' Money, Mo' Problems

I am so sick of getting laid off.

This time, though, I can't claim unemployment. I didn't work enough hours (680) in 9 months to claim. I had planned on quitting anyways at the end of the summer when school started back up, but this was definitely unexpected.

Due to the job climate and my not wanting to get a job JUST for the summer (I will be getting work study in September!) I've been working on overhauling our budget, big time. Not that there's much we can cut out. I think we'll squeak through unharmed, but it's definitely nerve wracking.

Luckily, our grocery bills are going to be the easiest. I signed us up for a CSA and paid in full before all the shit hit the fan, so at least we'll be getting veggies once a week until October.  We had originally budgeted $100 a week for groceries, the CSA brings us down to $75. I stocked up big time on dried beans, lentils, rice, oatmeal and pasta this last paycheck, so that will help shave more dollars off. As long as we stick to the perishable essentials (coffee, not-milks and such) we will be fine. I gotta keep repeating that: we will be fine.

Last night, I made myself a dinner almost completely made of CSA goodies. Our box this week included green onions, daikon radishes, garlic scapes (!), red leaf lettuce, spinach and chard mix and collard greens. I had seen a couple recipes for garlic scape pesto floating around and based mine on this recipe. It is SO GOOD. I didn't even miss the basil! I cut out the cashews and tofu, subbed the arugula for some of the spinach-chard mix and added in edamame for creaminess. I then smothered some broccoli with it. On the side I steamed some of the chard-spinach mix with garlic and a little bit of salt.

While I have many, many budget friendly meals up my sleeve, I will be researching and adding my own spin to them and posting them here. I believe it's incredibly easy to eat well on a very restricted budget. I mean, dried beans and rice are some of the cheapest foods out there. Fresh, local veggies are so wallet friendly and bulk spices are amazingly cheap.