It’s been a quiet, but productive couple months in Ann Arbor. I love our little apartment. We learned from the owner that the house once served as a nunnery in the 1800s and the house next door was a hospital. Way cool, in a creepy sort of way. I’m still learning how to balance the whole “work from home” thing. I open Photoshop and Illustrator just after breakfast and work off and on the rest of my waking hours. I really love what I’m doing, but I can’t spend too much time cooking, reading, or playing a videogame without feeling guilty.
Since we left our day jobs to start our own businesses, we have been on a frugal lockdown of sorts, not spending money on anything except bills and food. And we’ve really cut costs on food. How did we go from spending $600-800 on a month on food to about $225 (while still shopping primarily at the farmers market, gourmet grocery stores, and eschewing coupon clipping)? Less wine, less meat, less cheese (!!), no pre-packaged Trader Joe’s meals, and more carbs. More pasta, more flour, and beans. So many beans. I make pizza and bread from scratch, make my own yogurt, grow sprouts in a jar, incorporate leftovers into new dishes so nothing goes to waste, and feel pretty glad that I got bit by the canning/dehydrating/freezing bug at the end of the summer. I make a point to clear out the fridge every week before buying more produce, whereas in San Francisco our fridge was always full. Something always went to waste and containers of mystery leftovers would remain in the deep dark depths of the fridge for up to a couple months. I guess it’s been applying a lot of common sense, but I didn’t often think about these things when I was working/commuting 50+ hours a week. I have a lot of new recipes I’d like to share with you all here and hope to have something up later this week.
In September, I picked 15 pounds of concord grapes from my dad’s backyard for jam and syrup making. I used this recipe for the jam and this recipe for the syrup. When I was a kid, my parents told me that the grapes in the backyard were inedible. I suppose they didn’t want me to eat them right off the vine? I feel like I’ve been missing out most of my life, but at least now I have a year’s worth of grape jam.
Have you heard of ground cherries? They made an appearance at our local farmers market for a couple weeks. They’re like sweet little tomatillos with a slightly bitter aftertaste. I wasn’t really a fan. I was hoping to see pawpaws make their debut here, but they were nowhere to be found. Pawpaws are the only tropical fruit native to Michigan and closely related to my favorite fruit of all time, cherimoyas.
Earlier this month we went to the University of Michigan Natural History Museum. The museum felt like stepping into a 1960s time capsule.
We did actually break our “no spend” rule a couple times. We went to the Michigan Renaissance Festival twice to load up on honeycomb and honey creme from Jodi Bee Honey Farms, pet baby animals, and people watch (did you know there are adults out there with My Little Pony tattoos?).
Here we are during warmer times. The days are getting colder and I’m still too stubborn to wear anything but dresses. I haven’t worn pants since June. I wonder how long it’ll take for me to cave and put on a pair of pants again. Ugh.
And lastly, because I haven’t gotten out a whole lot lately, most of the photos I’ve taken are of my cat. Luckily, she is so cute she temporarily makes me forget how much I want a dog.