Category Archives: Food

Homemade Veggie Stock

I cook a lot, and I plan on sharing many of the things I cook here. I thought I should start out by sharing one thing that is a constant staple in much of my cooking: veggie stock.

Since we eat mostly plants, we often have a lot of “extras” leftover. Stems, shells, skins, etc. This stuff is not totally useless! You can use it to make stock.


Any veggie trimmings I have, I put in a bag in the freezer. When that bag gets full, I make stock.

DSC_0135For this batch of stock, I also added some pulp leftover from juicing.

DSC_0136It is very easy to make. Just cover your veggie trimmings with water, then bring to a boil.

DSC_0137This batch had some beet stems in it, so the water turned purple right away.


Add spices to your taste. This time I added salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. There were some garlic and ginger trimmings in there, too, so that will influence the flavor.


Once the water comes to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover for 40 minutes or more, depending on how much you have to work with and how flavorful you want your stock to be.

DSC_0149Then strain the stock.


You may have to squeeze some of the juices from the veggies. If you have a compost pile, you can add what’s leftover when you’re done.

DSC_0155I keep my stock in jars in the fridge until I am ready to use it.

It’s that easy! Never buy veggie stock again.

Trader Joe’s vs. Door to Door Organics: Which costs more?


When I shared my first “What’s in the box?” post on Facebook, a friend noted that the total cost of $34.41 seemed high and wondered if that included extra for a delivery fee. Though I already knew the price was higher than if it were regular (non organic) produce, I decided to find out exactly how much more or less the box costs compared to organic produce from the grocery store.

Besides a small local health food store, Trader Joe’s is the only grocery store in the area that provides organic options for much of their produce. I thought they would be a good comparison since they have locations in many cities.

So here’s how it went down: I went in to Trader Joe’s armed with a list of produce and my camera phone. I then proceeded to walk around the store like a weirdo, taking photos of produce and crossing things off a list.

Unfortunately, my ancient phone sucks, and I don’t have photos of everything. However, I did manage to get the prices of every item from the first box:

4 organic Bosc pears: $3.16
4 organic Gala apples: $3.16
1lb carrots: $3.99*
1 Delicata squash: $0.99*
1lb mixed potatoes: $2.49*
4 organic Russet potatoes: $3.99
0.5lb green beans: $2.69+*
4 organic garlic cloves: $2.00
5 organic Roma tomatos: $3.49
1 green onion bunch: $1.29*
1 bag organic Lacinato kale: $2.29+

+ Trader Joe’s did not have yellow beans or organic green kale bunches. Instead I found regular green beans and a bag of pre-chopped Lacinato kale.
* Trader Joe’s also did not have organic versions of everything. According to the USDA, organic produce costs 10-30% more than regular produce. I added 20% to each of the non organic items, except the green beans to which I added 30% (since yellow beans are apparently more rare.) The adjusted prices of those items are below:

1lb carrots: $4.79
1 Delicata squash: $1.19
1lb mixed potatoes: $3.00
0.5lb green beans: $3.50
1 green onion bunch: $1.55

After adjusting those prices, I also needed to add the sales tax. I looked at my actual Trader Joe’s receipt (I did buy things) and saw that there is a 5% tax and a 2% tax.

So who won?

The total cost of the Trader Joe’s produce, with taxes and adjustment for organics, was $34.37. Without adjusting for organics, it would have been $31.61. Pretty close, but TJ’s is coming in at slightly less! Right?

But wait… there’s more. Driving to and from Trader Joe’s from our home burns about 1 galon of gas in my Outback (not to mention at least 40 minutes spent in the car total!) Gas prices here are currently $3.01/galon, adding $3.01 to the cost of the Trader Joe’s produce. That means…

Door to Door Organics wins!

That doesn’t mean we don’t still shop at Trader Joe’s for other things. It’s conveniently located in the same mall as Target, so the drive out there isn’t so bad so long as we need enough stuff. This time around, I bought Greek yogurt, whole wheat pasta, some Two Buck Chuck merlot, and cookies. Happy Saturday.


First Floor Tour: the Kitchen (with a tale of woe)

DSC_0046Dun dunna-nunnnn!! The first room I would like to present to you is THE KITCHEN.


As you can see, there isn’t much counter space, but that has forced us to do away with certain things like the microwave, which, in the long run, is actually a very good thing!


As I mentioned in the empty house tour, the kitchen is basically what sold me on the house. There wasn’t a whole lot we wanted to do to it, besides get our stuff in there.


Since we weren’t planning any kitchen renos, you might be wondering why there is a GIANT HOLE IN THE KITCHEN CEILING.

Well, lemme tell ya, this giant hole is not desired. Nope, we did not plan to cut a hole in our ceiling. We did not want this hole, but we had no choice.

About a month after moving in to the house, we noticed something strange. One of the light fixtures over the bar had what appeared to be a brown stain from some sort of liquid trickling all the way down its stem (cord? hang-y thing?) and settling around the bottom of the light bulb. It was dry when we noticed it. Not knowing what the heck it could be from, we promptly forgot about it.

A little while later, Jon said he heard dripping somewhere in the kitchen while I was taking a shower (the bathroom is right above the kitchen.) I looked everywhere but couldn’t find any water suggesting a leak. I didn’t hear any dripping when Jon took a shower, so again, we forgot about it.

Cut to a Sunday morning late in July, when I filled our tub hoping to take my first, much-needed relaxing bath in our new home. Just as I was starting to settle in while the tub filled, I heard Jon yelling from downstairs that I had to get out, NOWI sprang out of the tub and ran downstairs to see water all over the counter and floor, a wet line along the seam in the ceiling’s drywall, and water gushing down that same light fixture.

Turns out our tub had a leak.

We have a home warranty, and they sent out a plumber to assess the situation. Apparently the tub had been leaking for a LONG time, and the space between the new ceiling and the old (they lowered it) was absolutely covered in mold. The plumber guessed that the old ceiling had been holding in the water and finally burst, which is why we got a sudden gush of water and hadn’t noticed much else before.

We are still in the process of getting it all figured out (not an easy task when you’ve got lives to live) but in the meantime, we have temporarily patched the crack in the tub (with packaging tape—nothing but the best for House DeMonte), cut out the rest of the ceiling to clean out the mold, and are keeping it open so we can monitor the situation (and because, well, we haven’t fixed the tub yet.) Eventually we’ll get the tub patched properly and install the new ceiling ourselves, but in the meantime, we are living with a giant hole in our kitchen ceiling.

DSC_0047Despite all that, I still think it’s a gorgeous kitchen.

What’s in the box? Week II

DSC_0001The series continues with this week’s box!

DSC_0002Total cost: $34.41


4 bananas

This order came with a disclaimer about the greenness of the bananas. They suggested we leave them out at room temperature for a few days so they ripen up. Personally, I like my bananas a little green!


2 Roma tomatoes

These look much prettier than the ones we got last week!


1 green bell pepper (U.S.A.)

Try to ignore the fact that this pepper is not in focus.


1 green onions bunch


1 green kale bunch (U.S.A.)


2 large sweet potatoes (U.S.A)

When they say large, they MEAN large!


1lb turnips from Rachel’s Garden

Door to Door qualifies Rachel’s Garden as local, but sadly I couldn’t find their website!

DSC_00111 russet potato (plus one bonus potato!) from Strohauer Farms (Colorado)


2 Fuji apples from Stemilt Growers (Washington state)

DSC_00132 small apple (Asian) pears (U.S.A.)

This is the first time I have ever encountered these types of pears. At first, I was looking in the box thinking, “didn’t I order pears? Are these more bonus apples?” But no. They’re pears.

DSC_00141 small avocado

I’ve got a few ideas about what I’ll be making with this week’s order. This sweet potato Chipotle soup will make good use of the yams and avocado. My favorite way to make turnips is to roast them with potatoes, but I may have to go to the store for some mushrooms to make my favorite mushroom gravy to go with.

What would you make with these ingredients?

What’s in the box?


We think food is important. It’s important to our health, the environment, and society. We try to make responsible decisions with our food. We eat mostly vegetarian, and when we do eat meat, it is 100% local, free range, hormone free, non-corn fed, etc. We try to eat local as much as we can, and besides that we try to go for organic or at least GMO-free. No matter what, we want to support businesses that we think are doing the right thing.

Of course, this isn’t always easy, and it definitely isn’t always cheap! But the important part is that we try.

A little over a year ago, we found out about Door to Door Organics (no, this isn’t a sponsored post!) They deliver organic produce right to your door. On the website, you can see what’s coming in your box, trade things out, see what’s local and if not, where it came from. The best part? There is a fixed price (unless you choose to add more.)

I thought it would be helpful for those of you who want to know how much it REALLY costs to eat organic. Every week I’m going to share with you what comes in our box.

DSC_0002Cost of this week’s box: $34.41

DSC_00031 Green kale bunch (U.S.A.)

We love kale! We put it in just about anything, from soups to pastas, to raw in salads. Green kale, sometimes called curly kale, is our favorite (versus the less-appealing lacinato, or dinasaur kale)


1 Green onions bunch


5 Roma tomatoes from Deardorff Family Farms


4 Garlic bulbs

There is no such thing as too much garlic in the DeMonte household.


0.5 LB yellow beans from Lakeside Organic Gardens

Fun fact: I didn’t know there was such a thing as “yellow beans” before this box!


4 Russet potatoes from Strohauer Farms


1 LB mixed potatoes (U.S.A.)

I plan on making a potato soup this week, so we needed a lot. There was actually another bag of mixed potatoes in the box that I didn’t take a picture of (not sure if it was included in the 1 LB, or if they were bonus potatoes!)


1 Delicata squash from Capay Organic



1 LB bag of carrots from Kern Ridge Growers

I didn’t mean to order the bagged kind, but these carrots will be eaten none the less!


4 Gala apples from Stemilt Growers

…Plus a bonus apple! Door to Door sometimes throws in extras. I plan on drying these babies for my morning oatmeal.


4 Bosc pears, also from Stemilt Growers

This box, combined with leftovers from last week’s box, will likely be enough produce to last us the week. We supplement with stuff from the store like greek yogurt, soy milk, pastas, and bread, though all of that can be purchased from Door to Door, too.

When it comes to food, what’s important to you? Would you appreciate produce delivered to your door, or do you prefer to shop for it in a store? Would you eat it from a box? Would you eat it with a fox? (sorry, got a little excited with my accidental door/store rhyme!) Tell us in the comments!