Market Monday/Meal Planning

One day late- forgot to post! 🙂 

This week Eric and I went to the Easton Wintertime Farmers Market at Simpson Springs.  We brought $100 and got plenty to eat for the week.  We spent $30 on wine from Running Brook Vineyards and the rest of the $70 went to groceries.  Here’s what I can recall for items and prices:

–          Apples ($2.99/lb)

–          Dill pickles ($8)

–          Lettuce $2/head (we bought four since we were having some family over for dinner Saturday evening)

–          Garlic

–          Cheddar cheese from Foxboro Cheese Company

–          Kale ($4 a bag, probably about 5 cups)

We also went to the grocery store for the first time in awhile.  We buy all of our paper and household goods through Amazon.com’s  Subscribe and Save, and I have a pretty good stockpile of rice, beans and other pantry staples, so there hasn’t been a need to hit the grocery store.  Since we were having a dinner party, and wanted to make chicken Parmesan  we needed some supplies, most notably chicken. I hope to be in a position someday to be able to throw a dinner party from our own backyard, but I’m not there yet! 

The rest of the week is all planned out:

Sunday- lamb shank and maple syrup-glazed Brussels sprouts (recipe coming up later in the week- absolutely delicious!)

Monday- Caesar salad with leftover fried chicken

Tuesday- leftover chicken Parm w/ sautéed kale

Wednesday- Salad with Cheddar cheese and apples

Thursday- Crockpot lentil soup w/ homemade whole-wheat biscuits

Friday- homemade pizza or calzones w/ mozzarella & roasted red peppers (frozen from last year’s garden)

For breakfast I am making enough Overnight Oats (of Pinterest fame) to last the rest of the week. Lunches are leftovers or frozen, homemade soups.

On another note, I checked our cold frame and some lettuce seeds germinated!! Here’s hoping they make it through the remaining cold days!

That’s what we’ve got cooking this week.  How about you?

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Parenting Lessons.

Feeding Isaac has begun consuming a large portion of my brain space lately.

Here’s the situation:

My daycare provides free baby food for the first year. Do you know how hard it is to turn down free food?? Hard. I love free things. (Yes I have the best daycare ever. They also give us free diapers.)

This food is traditional baby food. Nothing out of the ordinary. But I am trying to give Isaac a good start as a healthy eater and I don’t want to have him eat foods that have sugar added and potentially have been exposed to pesticides and other nasty ingredients.

I also believe that eating locally grown produce is just better for our bodies, our planet, and our local communities. I like having farms and open spaces where I live, and I want Isaac to grow up with that, too. So making my own baby food makes sense. It fits in with my food ethic and the values I want to instill in my child.

So what’s the problem?

One, I am not awesome at going against the norm. I wonder if the awesome teachers think differently of me, or make fun of me as a hippie granola mom. I wonder if they think I’m a snob. Why do I care? I shouldn’t, really. And they have been nothing but accommodating with all of my requests (breast milk, nursing at lunchtime, no juice, etc.)

Two, I don’t have a lot of time for anything. As any working mom or dad will tell you, time becomes a precious commodity when you only get a few short hours with your child daily. So I have to balance whether my desire to DIY baby food outweighs other priorities like time with my family, exercising, showering, etc. For a few weeks, this won out. I bought organic baby food (crazy expensive) and then I just let Isaac have what the other kids ate.

But in a rare moment of lucidity and clarity, I realized that this internal battle is just the beginning. We as parents will have to make decisions for our son daily that might go against the grain (if we are any good, they will.) Next year it might be what he brings for snack, and the year after it might be the types of games we let him play. Then whether we let him drink underage, or go to R rated movies. Who knows. The point is, this is basic training for bigger decisions coming down the road.

And most importantly, more important than the food he eats or games he plays, or what daycare thinks of me, is that we are raising a young man who won’t be afraid to make the difficult decision, even when it isn’t easy. (Yup, paraphrased Dumbledore. Boom.)

That’s my parenting ramble for the day. I’d love to hear thoughts on this. How do other parents feel? Am I just crazy? Do you love free things? How about Dumbledore?

Also, any good baby food recipes??

🙂

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Lard! Grandma’s secret ingredient

Baking biscuits makes me feel like a true homemaker (even if I do work.) It makes me want to pour a glass of sweet sun tea and say things like “hey y’all” and “bless your heart!” Which in my southeastern Massachusetts, combo-of-Boston-and-Rhode Island accent sounds truly ridiculous.

Recently, I learned how to make a really awesome biscuit. We rendered a few quarts of lard awhile ago (more on that someday) and I fully believe that lard is the secret to amazing baked goods, and to happiness in general.  I know the name lard is really gross sounding…maybe lard needs a rebranding campaign.  How about…pig butter? That actually sounds worse. Any thoughts on new names for lard?

I recently learned about the benefits of using lard from real food blog 100 Days of Real Food.  She has a ton of great info there about eating unprocessed foods.

These biscuits go wonderfully with just about anything. You can use them for breakfast, lunch or dinner…even dessert! (strawberry shortcake, anyone?)

Annemarie’s Awesome Biscuit Recipe

1 cup of whole wheat flour (what, haven’t you heard that white flour is the devil??)

1 cup bread flour (don’t forget you can order flour from Wood Prairie Farm in Maine)

1 cup milk, buttermilk is even better

1/2 cup lard, very cold

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

The secret to good biscuits is cold, cold ingredients. Very cold lard and milk will make for biscuits with lots of crumbly texture. If it’s hot in your kitchen, don’t even bother with this recipe.

Eating local as the days get longer…

There is no doubt that late winter is the hardest time to be a locavore. Nothing is growing right now, and the root vegetables that store well during the winter are probably getting a little tired. It’s easy to forget the bounty grown right in our own backyard. Mix it up with different seasonings. Try a little garam masala for an Indian feel, or buy some sesame oil to give your salads an Asian cuisine flair. If you dig out and visit a local farmers market, you can get creative with a recipe like the one below.

Apple and Gouda Salad

This is an easy weeknight meal that comes together quickly. You can adjust the cheese to what you have on hand- Cheddar, Asiago, or Gouda would all work well here. Check out Foxboro Cheese Company for an excellent selection.

Ingredients (serves four)

4 to 6 cups Winter lettuce mix (from Oakdale Farms in neighboring Rehoboth, MA)

2 Apples (from CN Smith Farm in East Bridgewater, MA)

Block of cheese, cubed

Croutons

Dress with a simple vinaigrette, or however you like.

Variations: Try a handful local dried cranberries, some Feta cheese, and some walnuts. Or, top your salad with some pan-seared local scallops.

Sorry for the somewhat crappy iPhone pics. Isaac was in need of lots of parental attention and I didn’t have the heart to deny him!

What’s your favorite wintery meal?

Sent from my iPad

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Sautéed pea greens with fried eggs

Sautéed pea greens with fried eggs This isn’t so much a recipe as a technique. Hardy winter greens and eggs are a great combination and a simple and fast weeknight dinner. I always pick up some greens at the farmers … Continue reading