Wednesday, December 3, 2008

This is what they mean by "Interesting Times"

It is difficult to comprehend the financial catastrophe that has enveloped the United States and the World. One day you're plugging along, doing your job, putting money away in 401K, and flat out doing pretty well. The next day you're laid off from your job, your family income is dramatically reduced, and you're left figuring out what the hell went wrong!

When the bad news first started to motor down the runway it didn't seem like it would effect us but it caught up with us quickly. Living in the Seattle area it seemed like we might be impervious for a while. You could see the cranes in Seattle and Bellevue working like bees. How could the financial systems be going bankrupt and yet all of this money was apparently available to build, build, build? Well, that has changed, almost overnight. The cranes have stopped moving and the building has slowed to a crawl.

For we Seattleites the failure of the housing market has also been a cold shower. In a remarkably short period of time we have gone from bidding wars on 500 square foot bungalows priced in the six figures to homes priced below their original purchase price. The average home sale in King County was $387,500 in October 07 and was $358,500 in October 08 a drop of 7.48%. This would be incredibly disheartening if the numbers elsewhere were not so dramatically worse. In our state's San Juan County average home prices in October 07 were $700,000 and in October 08 they were $395,000. Jimminy Crickets that will take the air out of you!

Which all leads to the question of how do we cope in our new world? There are many ways to live well within a budget and it can actually be enjoyable. Already I find my creative juices working overtime and that is good for the mind and the soul. To start off our eating and living well in tough times recipe collection I will start off with my Homemade Turkey Soup. For Thanksgiving this year we purchased a small 10 pound turkey at Trader Joes that the two of us have made last for 4 meals and counting. The soup is the final transformation and the tastiest.

Jenifer's Homemade Turkey Soup

1 Leftover Turkey carcass.

1 T Salt

2 Cups Trader Joes Brown Rice Medley cooked

1 to 2 Slices Hardwood Smoked Bacon

1 Cup Leftover Turkey Gravy

1 Onion chopped

4 Stocks of Celery roughly chopped

2 Carrots roughly chopped.

Pepper to Taste

Place leftover turkey in large pot. You will probably need to break the skeleton in pieces to make it all fit. Cover with water and add your tablespoon of salt. Place pot on burner and set heat to simmer. Simmer turkey until meat falls from the bones. Cool the broth until you can handle it easily with your hands. Sometimes I put the pot in the refrigerator overnight and start on it again the next day. Reach into the pot with your clean hands and start pulling out the bones and tossing them away. This can be messy but it makes the very best tasting soup broth.

In the meantime cook your rice. The brown rice medley usually takes 30 minutes or more to cook. Put rice in turkey broth. Cut up bacon slices into nibble size pieces and cook until starting to brown and then add sliced vegetables. Toss veggies in bacon and renderings and cook until just becoming tender. Add the lot to the pot including any bacon drippings. At the last add your leftover turkey gravy and then heat through. Season to taste.

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