Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The importance of doing it yourself

P-daddy and I have been working for a while on being green and doing what we can to best utilize resources. We Reduce-Reuse-Recycle all the time, perhaps excessively. We have a gorgeous collection of yogurt containers (that we refill with homemade yogurt at times), have been known to wash and reuse gallon-size ziplocs (to put homemade pancakes in for freezing), and make our own laundry detergent (with a lot less waste, and it's handily stored in one of those previously-mentioned yogurt containers). In addition to yogurt, pancakes, and laundry detergent, we make our own bread, except when it's 100+ degrees like it is right now. There's a place in town where we can get wheat in bulk for pretty cheap, and I've been lusting after a good grain mill for a while - supposedly freshly ground grains make homemade bread even better. So this morning, I was quite excited to see that Halee the Homemaker is giving away a grain mill! I've gotten a few entries in, and plan to do a few more, and I'm sharing it here for you to get in on the goodness. I'm pretty sure that something like that grain mill would be a perfect addition to our list of must-takes!

How so, you ask? What does a grain mill have to do with becoming an expat? Well, believe me when I say it does. Anyone who has lived for long at all in Central America knows that the cost of imported American convenience foods is as high - if not higher - than in the States. But salaries in Central America are significantly lower, and we expect that when we move, we'll be making significantly less money than what we make now. So we need to be able to cook from scratch as much as possible, and create our own convenience foods rather than purchasing them. We've got a start on that, as you can see from our packed-to-the-gills freezer here:

Just a quick glance shows me that we have pancakes, baked oatmeal, pinto beans (yep, in the yogurt container), veggie patties, french fries, and sorbet. As time goes on, I'll likely be posting recipes for many of those, as well as lots of other DIY projects and must-haves that might come in handy as we get ready for The Big Move.


  1. Very smart idea. And if you are looking for ways to make money here, homemade bread would work. Salvadoreans love breads, especially sweet. I make banana bread to sell out of my store and usually sell out the same day. Doing it myself I make. about $2.50 which comes out to an almost 100 percent profit. Not bad when you consider that most items in my store are a 25 percent profit.

    BTW love your blog. Good luck with the move and hope to see you here soon.

  2. Thanks, Jennifer! That sounds like great profit, so we'll have to start gathering some good recipes. When I lived in Guatemala, there was a Mennonite community right outside of the town that I lived in, and they sold fresh breads and other home-baked goods out of a storefront only 2 days a week, and I'm pretty sure they made a killing. We definitely don't bake on the scale that they did, but we can start small and build up!

  3. In the town I live in there's a few molineros you can go to where they will grind up your stuff for you. The women take huge buckets of corn there and pay 10-20 cents to have it ground up into masa to make tortillas. I'm not sure if they grind stuff other than corn but I would imagine it's a possibility.

  4. Julie, thanks for the reminder about the molinos! I'm going to have to find out if they'll grind things other than corn - that would certainly simplify things!