• Posted by Califia Suntree on July 10th, 2014, 11:01 AM

    A few weeks ago, Lindy West wrote this hilarious story for Gawker about attempting to feed herself for three days from Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest “detoxifying” cookbook It’s All Good. In order to do so, West spent $300 on groceries–again, for three days of meals. She ate well–millet falafel and quinoa salad were the highlights–but the story reenforced what is to me a frustrating, and inaccurate, perception that in order to be “all good” à la Gwyneth, you have to shell out a C-note a day on raw cacao powder and Manuka honey. (GOOP, GP’s website, sells things like $240 bath towels and $175 napkins.) And if you can’t? Well, bring on the frozen pizza and fruit punch.

    As someone who is into healthy eating, but not on a GOOP budget, this message drives me crazy. It’s true that spending in our country is lopsided–we spend too much of our budgets on health care and housing and not enough on food. (A century ago, we spent nearly a quarter of our income on groceries, now it’s just over 6%–about half as much as the Netherlands, the healthiest country on earth.) This reduction in spending on food is presented as a “good thing,” but in fact it reflects the cheapening of our diets and we are seeing the rampant health effects of that cheapening. We eat truckloads of corn syrup, subsidized corn and wheat, and mass-produced animal products, whose deflated price reflects just how poorly raised those animals were.

    All of this brings to mind that old chestnut, “If you think wellness is expensive, try illness.” Irritating to hear when you’re on a tight budget, but these words are true. Thrift means thinking in the long-term, and eating a “cheap” diet now only to suffer from expensive illnesses later (requiring, say, cholesterol or blood-pressure medications, or, as the alarming global stats reflect, diabetes treatment) is not thrifty. Fortunately, you can eat both well and affordably, without morale-crushing trips to Whole Paycheck.

    Here are a few ways that I’ve learned to eat a healthy-foodie’s diet on a junk-food budget. You probably have strategies of your own–post them in the comments!  Read on… »

  • Posted by Califia Suntree on April 18th, 2012, 11:59 AM

    I believe this celebu-tip might actually work. (And it’s so thrifty!) You’re welcome ladies/certain gentlemen.

    Jennifer Love Hewitt: I Use Vanilla Extract to Attract Men! – UsMagazine.com.

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  • Posted by Califia Suntree on January 17th, 2011, 2:51 PM

    The cast iron skillet is, hands down, my favorite piece of cookware. I use a skillet pretty much everyday—for eggs, stir-frys, reheating leftovers, pancakes…Thanks to the January ’11 issue of Sunset magazine, I have yet another skillet dish to add to the rotation (see also 2010 discoveries, skillet chicken pot pie and skillet almond cake).


    It’s a one-pot dinner that comes together incredibly quickly if you have defrosted pizza dough on hand. I buy the dough for $1 from Trader Joe’s, but basically every supermarket carries some form of it in the refrigerated section. (Or you could make the dough and freeze it. But for $1, I’m probably not botherin’.)

    The Sunset recipe had a topping of broccoli rabe, yellow bell peppers and mozzarella; my pizza had Italian sausage, parsley and goat cheese. Your pizza can have whatever you want. Here’s how it’s done: Read on… »

  • Posted by Califia Suntree on December 13th, 2010, 11:33 AM

    We’ve all seen artichoke stalks and cabbage flowers in fancy floral arrangements—even the occasional swiss chard. But did you know that you have houseplants-in-waiting lying around your kitchen right this very moment? Potatoes, beets, lentils, ginger root…they can all be turned into lush potted plants. Just add water. I first learned about this brilliant use of kitchen scraps from the fantastic book Don’t Throw It, Grow It!. We included a few of the book’s plant projects in Be Thrifty, and I finally have a veggie plant of my own, this adorable turnip. You are generally instructed to cut the bottom off the veggie and nestle just the top it in soil or stones. But we liked how the turnip itself looked, so we did it this way. (And the leaves have actually grown quite a bit since this pic was taken; let’s see how big it gets!) Next up is a ginger root—it’s supposed to have glorious, white, blooms that smell of Hawaii. Thrifty Christmas gift anyone?

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