But it all began with the second summer. With cracked lips and ashy skin, we started talking about all that meaning of life stuff and the future. Money was getting boring. Yes I said it. It just wasn't enough. Those sandal wearing days were wreaking havoc on my heels and I found myself at the salon more than twice a month. Trips to the salon were soon accompanied by a martini lunch and followed by a steak and wine dinner. The desert had cast a small cloud of denial over us and our ambition for progress. It was easy, being DINKS, to spend several hundred dollars a month keeping ourselves well moisturized on the surface, but inside we were drying up. The clarity of the winter sun soon rescued us and we decided to clean up all the dust. Enough drinking and debauchery. Enough $300 dinners. Enough meaningless circles of life. We were ready to settle in. We decided to have a family, knowing this would be an awesome place to do so. Easy to do when you have Thanksgiving dinner on the patio surrounded by a beautiful mountain sunset and all, almost all, the people you love.
Melting into another summer but this time pregnant, it became a tad more difficult to keep hydrated. But thinking we had it all figured out, we decided summer was like winter in the PNW. You stay in and watch movies a lot of the time, and instead of cocoa you drink lemonade. What we didn't fully realize was that with baby, another kind of drying up begins. The money kind. Steak and wine dinners had no white table clothes and three-page wine lists but marinated asada and a $5 bottle from Trader Joe's instead.
On a tight budget and committed to eating well (not just healthy people, well) we started looking at new ways to do food. I started reading about the days when people canned food, bought or grew bulk veggies and stored them for the winter. After trying several CSA's and buying clubs we finally found a couple of solutions and got to work. That next summer determined the speed we would finally take with food, slow. Now we roast, marinate, garden, can, wild ferment, brew and dry. We save money, support causes we believe in, and fulfil our need to create something. By no means self-sufficient, we are at least filling up our well again. And we are living the good life.
Make your favorite marinara sauce
Slice fresh eggplants, skin on, about 1/4 inch
Marinate in marinara overnight
Lay flat on dryer or baking dish lined with parchment paper
Salt to taste
Dry for several hours (8 to 10 on low setting) or bake at lowest oven temp
Keep in dry dark place.