Liquid Gold

fresh lemons year round

Remember those lemons I “borrowed” from my neighbor John? This weekend while working on my pie I noticed a few annoying black bugs flying around. I took out the trash and recycling, emptied the garbage disposal, ran the dishwasher and still, bzzz… the tiny gnats continued to annoy me. Then I looked at the basket and realized I had way over-estimated my lemon needs. The bottom layer of lemons hidden from sight looked like a scene from Marie Curie’s laboratory gone awry.
I washed those that weren’t moldy, threw the basket liner in the washing machine and pulled out my hand-juicer and cutting board. (What I should have done was make a lemon pie.) Twenty minutes later, I’ve got fresh lemon juice for the rest of the year’s recipes. Voila.

What to do when the lemons start attracting bugs

Adam sent me this link today about consumerism in the United States and how everything is a bit out of whack. We are spending way more than we can afford — like the obese at a dessert buffet, we continue stuffing ourselves when we should have long since gone to bed.

I find that when I am eating sensibly, I’m also spending wisely. It’s all or nothing — or as my mother so aptly puts it, “Honey, you have two shades: black or white.” Thankfully right now I’m in a disciplined mood and am saving money like I’m saving my calories — for the good stuff, like filet and Malbec.

With rising gas prices, I’ve started carpooling more and am cutting coupons when I actually need the product. I’m even considering writing all of my spending down for a month, as suggested by this month’s Real Simple, to take a closer look at where the foolishness is occurring. (Coffee shop stops, more than likely.) I also like talking to my grandparents about budgeting. They not only survived The Great Depression, but they did so on farms — in Pennsylvania and England. Rural life was not kind, and as a result my grandmothers are tough hens who know how to make food budgets feed all of those coming to dinner, regardless of the number. I have a lot to learn from them.

Hence the drive to juice the lemons, rather than just pitch the basket. Just like with being healthy — it isn’t the occasional splurge that kills you. It’s the daily little things that accumulate. By cutting back on both, I hope to become less of a mindless consumer.

And if you hear of a Phoenix girl arrested for doing cartwheels down the street? It will be me the day my last grad school loan is finito. I have bigger and better things to be paying for — my own little plot of land somewhere in Colorado where I’ll have that huge vegetable garden, my dogs, my adopted kids from Africa, my own non-profit, my family nearby, my little condo in Tempe where we’ll all retreat for winters with our Arizona friends. Soon enough and in the meantime, I’ll be sipping my lemonade and smiling at the sweet future in store.


23 Replies to “Liquid Gold”

  1. It’s the little things that are nice – like refreshing drinks this summer with lemon ice cubes! BTW, I love your purple wristlet photo. Beautiful! And, yes I need to learn to consume less.

  2. You have good dreams indeed! I’m sure you will realize them all one day, you sure deserve it.
    About the frozen lemon juice, I do it also with the veggies (onions, garlic, cilantro, carrots, celery) sliced and ready for sauces when it’s the time, so I can have a fresh supply when needed, I put the mix in the ice holder so I have mono-portion. And if some fruits are going bad, I extract the juice and put it in them too, so I can have little fruit-flavoured ice cubes.

  3. Kelli, I love the lemon juice idea and am going to see about getting donations from neighboring lemon trees so I can do this, too.

    My consumerism is out of control but I am learning and trying to improve my behavior. Thank you for linking to me as the coupon holder project is super easy and will be helpful to people for their own budgeting efforts.

    Your dreams are beautiful and they will come true. You’re like me in that we work towards making our dreams a reality instead of just wishing things to magically happen. You have to be proactive and I’m all for that.

  4. I can see those frozen lemon cubes also making a refreshing summer cocktail ๐Ÿ˜‰ yum.

    And wow, your dream sounds an awful lot like mine! Hopefully the plot of land and big vegetable garden will come true for me here soon!

  5. Beautiful post Kelli. There is no doubt in my mind you will be living your dream and enjoying a bliss filled life.

  6. Good for you Kelli, I haven’t done it with lemons but I do the same with tomato paste and tomato sauce that’s left over if I don’t use the whole can. I’ve been cutting coupons for years. I also watch for sales and buy in bulk. It’s a great way to save money if you have time. When I was working though, it was a little more difficult and I suspect that’s why a lot more people don’t do it. It will be nice lemonade…ciao

  7. It has never occurred to me to make citrus ice cubes, but I always buy lots of limes because they’re ten for a dollar and use two and throw eight away when they get moldy. You’re a genius!! And I’m now going to do that with my garlic, too, before it sprouts – Gracie, does garlic make your plastic tray smell?

    Although I admit I have actually had the presence of mind to freeze leftover green tea for my morning blendies. It sticks to the ice cube trays, though.

    I totally also dream of having a family cabin in the mountains somewhere. I hear Idaho is good, though rapidly getting pricey. *sigh*

  8. i LOVE this post kelli. so timely for me… i have been spending way too much lately and march is going to be a month of spending nothing except on food. we did this for a month in the fall and it was great… it really helped me focus on what i really need as opposed to want.

  9. What a nice post! The lemon juice just makes me feel happy. If only we had fresh fruit growing around here! It’s still too cold ๐Ÿ™

    I’ll have to try all the wonderful freezing ideas other people are commenting about!

  10. Way to take lemons and make…lemonade…or whatever you wish! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Very impressive that your loans are paid off – I’m just a teeny bit jealous, but oh so happy for you. I can practically visualize your dreams….that’s how good they are. You are well on your way to making them happen my friend!

  11. I totally agree on the budget… we are building a new house and I’ve really been trying to pinch every single penny. Little things really do add up.
    I love the lemonade ice cubes! You are such an inspiration for me. :o)

  12. Naturally I read your post after whipping out the credit card and ordering a faboo bag online…now I feel guilty…but I shall assuage the guilt with the thought that I don’t shop like this always, that it is my birthday present to myself for making it to 35 happy and healthy, and…well, just because. But, I also wholeheartedly support the retreat from mindless consumerism. It truly is the daily, little choices that build a better tomorrow. (Lordy, I sound cheesy.) Keep on!

  13. Congrats on the student loans!

    I’ve been trying to cut back on consumption, as well. It’s better for the environment and it’s better for my waist!

  14. Good lemon juice idea. I was reading an article a while back that a majority of Texans eat out more than five times a week. More than five times! Dinner that is, not like lunch on the run which they probably do also. I guess living out in the country has changed our eating habits, I have no stores or fast food places to stop at on the way home so its always whatever I can make with what I have. I’ve become so much more food conscious because of that. We, as a country, are eating way to high on the food chain. Congrats on the student loan payoff. We were told recently that our son’s tuition is going up again this year, but he only has one year left for his undergrad then one for his grad, yeah!

  15. I really enjoyed reading this post, thanks! I have become much more aware of how our family consumes over the past year. It seems that we are consuming less, but what we are choosing to buy is more expensive. Not so many coffee stops for me, but I’m only drinking fair trade & organic. It seems like a good trade off.

  16. This year I all but cut out the mall entirely. Quite frankly, I have found the hunt of thrift shopping and the satisfaction of homemade gifts to be very rewarding. If the mall is the zoo, thrift shopping is my safari! I also find that I feel less poor when I avoid places that try manipulate me into a lack mentality. It’s been so great to discover bloggers like yourself who are doing the same things. The more I read like-minded blogs the more I know that this road less chosen is not as lonely as I had thought!

  17. i totally hear you on the loans and having better ways to spend half or more of one’s pay check. i am sure your grandmas have great ideas..please pass on to us, would love to learn from the older gens.

    and i hear you on consumerism. last year i took a pledge and have been sticking it to like a bear to honey. it’s extremely fun and liberating. wish you much luck on cutting down, making the most out of a 50 cents, and continuing to enjoy life.

  18. Oh your plans sound fabulous. I like the idea of writing down expenses for a month… mine probably go towards fabric and eating out too much.

  19. That over-stored article makes me want to cry. Around here they built mini malls on every single last piece of green space we had within the last 2 years. And 2 years later, every single one of them is still sitting empty. Many of them were never even finished. Empty buildings with gravel floors and no drywall because they never could find occupants.

    And they in our small town of 50,000 people.

    Really sad actually.

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