Archive for October, 2009

>One more thing

>Buy in bulk. I got flour for .59 cents a lb yesterday!


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>So I haven’t posted in a while because I wanted to put up pictures from our retreat up in Flathead. But my computer is en route to the Apple shop, so I can’t. Well, by en route, I mean they sent me a DHL label, which no longer picks up shipments in the US. Of course, I could drop it off at a DHL location, but I don’t think they have one in Montana. At least not Missoula. So they sent me a FedEx label. Of course, this would be a lot easier if there was an Apple store in Montana, but there’s not.

So Missoula is known for being a “crunchy granola” town. I learned this when going to a wedding with John. His college roommate’s mother was telling me, aghast, about someone whom she knew that went to Missoula, “for three days – just for fun!”
This is my super easy recipe for granola:
1 stick butter (or a 1/4 cup vegetable oil)
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbl vegetable oil
Mix these together and pour over 4 cups of whole oats
Spread over a greased pan
Bake in a 325 degree oven for 10 minutes at a time, for about 30 minutes total. Check OFTEN, it burns easily.
Mix in 3/4 cup dried fruit (raisins, if you’re a JV) and 1 cup nuts (or not, if you’re a JV)
So food is an interesting thing as a JV. In this house, we get $63 a week for food for 5 women. Last year we got $100 for 8 people. But this is a rundown of how we make it work, without eating rice and beans every single night:
1. Don’t eat out on community money. Until you save up lots and lots and then order a pizza. Which is what we did last year on the night it snowed 24 inches in 36 hours. And it was amazing, pretty much one of the best meals I’ve ever had. No one felt like cooking after walking home a few miles in 15 inches of snow!
2. Eat meat about – 3 or 4 times a year. Okay, so we could probably do more this, and definitely could’ve last year, but meat is PRICEY. People always say that being a vegetarian is pricey, but that’s just if you eat all tofuy and organicy. Meat is expensive.
3. Vary your grains. Pretty much everyone eats oatmeal for breakfast. For dinner, we have a lot of lentils, quinoa, rice. One of my housemates is allergic to beans, so we don’t have those too much.
4. Eat in season. Produce is cheaper if its in season. We got apples for 50cents a pound at the Farmer’s Market! Also, we’re not afraid of a few bumps and bruises, or produce that’s a little past its prime. Sure, maybe it used to be a little squishy, but you won’t know that once it is in the frying pan!
5. SOUP! I cook a lot of soup. It’s fast, simple, filling, and cheap. I think that’s cause water is a main ingredient, haha. Karen made delicious cabbage and pepperoni soup last night. I know, it sounds weird but it was wonderful.
6. Breakfast for dinner. Yum, and also, practically nothing is cheaper than pancakes. Oh, and if you are out of milk and eggs, you can substitute a can of beer. Um, not that JVs would ever have beer and not milk in the fridge. Definitely not.
7. Eat at work. Last year was a painful year of kid’s food. Everything was macaroni noodles seeing as how little kids aren’t too good with a knife and fork. So relatively, this year, food from a homeless shelter tastes great! Its hit or miss anyway. Today I missed the soup kitchen’s hours, so I grabbed a sack lunch to go. Ham and cheese sandwich, a bag of kettle chips, and a chocolate chip cookie – can’t beat that. Especially since its free.
8. Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. I’ve learned so much about recipe substitutions this year, mainly as in: “Oh, I don’t have this, this, or this. Oh well. Let’s just pretend its a different recipe that didn’t call for that in the first place.” I don’t really buy for certain recipes, but instead just cook what I got. And make sure that bread ends become bread crumbs or croutons, left over rice goes into soups, etc.
That’s all I got right now; let me know if you have any ideas.

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>October snow

>The house has a familiar smell to it. The smell of electric heat coursing through the veins of the walls. The house is not chilly, it’s holding steady at 65 degrees, but the old building has a habit of being drafty. I pull my quilt tighter around me and hold onto lovingly sewn flannel bag full of beans, microwaved for incredible warmth. My favorite part of winter.

Except its not winter. It’s October. A blanket of snow fell early Friday morning, a blanket which provided little warmth. The snow hung on the green leaves of the oaks, which had yet to turn colors. And now the leaves hung in indecision. Should they simply turn brown, curl up, and fall off? Or should they hang on, and fade into weak shades of autumn?
“Arctic Temperatures Bring Record Lows” the headlines read. All I know is, I have a winter full of quilts and hot tea ahead of me.

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>It’s coming…

>Official forecast:

Rain and snow this evening, becoming all snow overnight. Low 27 F. Winds N at 5 miles an hour. Chance of precip 80%. About one inch of snow expected.
I must say, I am NOT ready for the snow. I think I could almost deal with it if I was doing JVC Alaska or something. But this is no exotic location – its just another town in the lower 48. And the paper, by the way, is calling for a low of 8 tonight. It’s OCTOBER, for Pete’s sake!
Well, at the very least, I’m sleeping inside tonight. We had someone drop off a huge donation of socks and hats tonight, which is great, because it’ll be our first below freezing night of the season.
I’m excited about October. I love pumpkins and squash, football and cider. I love sunny crisp days. But here’s it gone from sunny and warm to cloudy and chilly. It will be a long winter coming up, so despite the cold, I’m trying to enjoy every ounce of the outdoors I can until winter!
(As I’m typing this, a client just offered to take me duck hunting. He said all you need is a loaf of bread and a golf putter. WHACK!)
The upstairs smells heavily of urine. I should go upstairs to check and see if the clients who I assume wet themselves are awake, but….

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>Life as a JV…in pictures


These things comprise the basic essentials of my Jesuit Volunteer lifestyle:

And also, hiking in Montana:

That’s the Clark Fork river that flows through Missoula.
Those are the mountains that surround Missoula on a cold, windy, cloudy fall day yesterday. You can see there is already snow in the mountains in the distance!
Underbrush on the hike. I like this picture because it shows new growth after fires, but at the same time, those leaves are fire red.
Hiking in Helena, this is John at the top of Mt. Helena.

That’s a forest fire we passed driving to Helena. You could see the helicopters dumping water on the fire.

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>How to comment

>Hopefully this helps:

At the bottom of the posts, click where it says “0 comments” or “2 comments” or what have you.
Scroll to the bottom of the comments.
Write your comment in the empty box.
Click “Open ID” and type your name in the box.
Click “Publish your comment.”
So that should work.
In other news:
It’s 47 degrees here. Making last night a perfect night for….ice cream.
There’s a local ice cream shop here that sells homemade ice cream. Last month their specialty flavor was Cold Smoke, which is a beer made by the local brewing company, Kettle House. Missoula takes its beer seriously – all the way to beer flavored ice cream! Right now the flavor is pumpkin. Delicious, especially now that fall is rapidly descending. It’s come late here, but its making up for lost time. John emptied his pockets of quarters and I contributed my last two bucks (end of the month!) and we bought a pint of ice cream. For one, its much cheaper than getting 2 separate scoops. For another, the typically long lines at Big Dipper are much, much shorter when its in the 40s!
So we split a pint and watch the Ken Burns documentary on the national parks. It was interesting, especially since we had just returned from a talk at the University on Public Lands in Missoula. The Yaak, up in northwest Montana, is becoming a wilderness area.
Oh, Montana.

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