getting thriftier...

image2113631163.jpgI'm on the lookout for ways to be thrifty...and it's gratifying that there is commonly an overlap between saving money and being green. A few small changes can make a pretty significant difference. The biggest challenge is letting go of rushing--it takes more time to be thrifty, at least that's what I've found so far.

Here's a couple examples of what I've been doing--what about you?

•Cooking! I have been cooking up a storm, bringing my lunch, and eating out less and less. We got a great cookbook (cooks illustrated 30 minute meals) and having been trying new recipes every week.

•Eating way more veggies. I have been eating meat only rarely, relying on beans, eggs, soy and seitan for my everyday protein. Veggies are cheap and nourishing, and I'm learning how to prepare them more quickly. And they are much less taxing on the environment. Then, when you add a few shrimp to a dish, it's a treat. Above is a recent dish: stirfried kale and tofu, with a few shrimp and storebought dumplings.

•Buying dried beans instead of canned! Then finding a couple new recipes for the beans over the week. And fewer cans to recycle.

•Buying whole--unprocessed--foods. A plain head of lettuce is cheaper than a plastic box of prewashed greens, and there's less plastic to recycle or throw away. Loose dried fruit, seeds and nuts are cheaper than snackbars.

I'm thinking about making my own yogurt, too--apparently, you can just add half a cup of starter yogurt to a batch of milk, and it will turn into yogurt over a few days. I love yogurt and fruit, but there's always a little bit of regret when I eat it because the containers aren't recyclable through the city's program. However, I just read somewhere that Whole Foods will take some #4 and #5 plastics...

I've also started using one of those tin water bottles (don't leach chemicals from plastic into water, no trash!) for the last few months, and I love it. I carry it around, empty much of the time, then fill it with tap water when I need to. It's lightweight, and it's paid for itself many times already.

Next: going to start making my own household, nontoxic cleansers. And going to start learning how to cook with cheap, sustainably harvested fish, like sardines and squid.