Wednesday food post- a week in food!

So I thought I’d post a little about what it is we actually eat around here, although it changes so much all the time (seasonally, my mood, etc) that I’m not sure how representative it’ll be. I plan to do this "week in food" every so often to see how things change and how much better I get at planning. Also to see what food looks like in each season- especially while our garden is productive and when we’re digging deep into our stores at the end of April (although we seem to be doing great so far, just without certain kinds of veggies! I guess a month and a half is a lot of food, though).

I only included the dinner meal, as our breakfasts are generally eggs and toast, oatmeal/porridge, eggs and cheese, yogurt, peanut butter on toast, eggs… Our lunches end up mostly being adapted leftovers, or something really simple like grilled cheese and whatever else I can throw on a plate for us. I make big portions of dinner so that I can pack some up for Jeff for the next work day, and also to make an easy lunch for Vera and I. Menu planning is going really well, all in all. I have fun doing it, and it’s really helpful in terms of the forethought that has to go into rationing our food. I rarely stick to the plan completely, but if I don’t cook a meal I planned for one night then it just gets moved to the next week’s plan. So menu planning has ultimately been a helpful thing no matter how strictly we adhere to it. It also helps me to prep for things- I know what to defrost, or soak, or whatever days before I actually have to do anything with it. I think I spend less time working on our meals now, and I don’t think I’d go back to not using a menu plan again. Especially considering that I’ll have two babies soon. Menu planning is a winner in my book!

On to the food!

Tuesday- brown rice w/ black beans, home canned corn, homegrown peppers, onion, homemade/grown salsa, spices. We spooned this into corn tortillas with a dollop of sour cream. Yummy. Only non-local food was the rice and spices.

Wednesday- Savory polenta with meat sauce, cheese, and homegrown broccoli. Sauce made from homegrown tomatoes, spices, onion, garlic, ground beef from our cow share. I’m not sure where the polenta comes from… I’ll have to figure it out. It’s bulk from our coop, but I can’t remember where it’s from!

Thursday- Chuck roast with nasturtium pesto pasta, and a sprout salad. Meat from cow share, pesto from homegrown nasturtium. Homegrown sprouts mixed with homegrown/homemade purple & white sauerkraut, and home canned corn. Everything is local except for the pasta.

Friday-  No picture! We went to a friend’s house for dinner and I forgot my camera. It was delicious. They grilled up some steaks from their cow share, we had a salad, locally made perogies… yeah. 

Saturday- We made dinner for Jeff’s parents. Cheesy brown rice with onions and dried mushrooms, Steak salad- grilled sliced steak (cow share), local spinach and mixed greens, tomato (from J’s parent’s fridge! It was actually really nice- not grainy at all, but nothing like a real fresh one…). We were really happy to see local greens for sale again, so we jumped at the chance to have a salad for dinner. I can’t wait to be eating one every day again.

Sunday- family dinner at my parent’s. This was the portion that I brought. This is my favorite way to eat brussel sprouts! You just sautee the cut up sprouts in fat (the best way is to do it with a couple of slices of cut up bacon, but I didn’t have any, so I just used some bacon fat from the fridge). Once they are browned you sprinkle in raisins and a little bit of chicken stock and cover until just cooked through. Mmmm. This way of cooking them is very versatile and can easily become vegetarian. My little sister requested these for that night- she actually never liked brussel sprouts until she had them cooked like this. In my opinion you’ve got to either cook them this way or roast them to do them justice. They are also excellent raw and grated into salads.
Anyway, brussel sprouts were not local. The chicken stock was homemade, the raisins… I’m not sure. The rest of the meal that night was bread and butter, and my mom’s homemade borscht (beet soup). It was all delicious.

Monday- Potato pancakes and salad. Potato pancakes made from potato and onions and carrot (we try to get Michigan root veggies, but I don’t remember if they were), egg, all fried in butter (local). Served with local sour cream and homemade pear sauce. Salad was local greens/spinach, leftover diced brussel sprouts.

Tuesday- Enchiladas. Jeff to the rescue! I was going to make something with homemade sourdough pita… but I just knew it wasn’t in the cards for me early in the day. Jeff committed to make dinner early on when I started feeling overwhelmed. He’s the best. He also tends to make excellent comfort foods- that still fit into our philosophy. These were local corn tortillas stuffed with leftover beef and cheese. Enchilada sauce made from homegrown/canned tomato sauce, spices. These were served with a side of black beans and homemade/grown green salsa.

Okay, so that was a full week of food! I notice a few things, having it all out there at once. The first is that meat is definitely used more frequently than it was earlier in the food-storage year. Also that we tend to eat the meat in stages. Like, I cooked beef this week, so we incorporated it into a few of our meals. If I had a chicken, we would probably have had a roast, then chicken salad or something, then a stir-fry or something that just had little pieces of it, and then likely a soup made from the stock. So it’s not like we eat the same thing all the time, but I’m not likely to have chicken/beef/pork/lamb all in the same week, we tend to try to stretch it out more. The second is that it is very weird for us not to have at least one soup during the week. Maybe it was the amazing weather- I just wasn’t inclined to make soup. Anyway. Oh, and also I didn’t mention that obviously any oil or spices that I used were likely not local (although I did dry my own thyme/oregano/marjoram/basil/parsley/rosemary this year- but things like cumin and salt and pepper are from the store).

Other food prep that I did for us this week was make bread and yogurt. The batch of yogurt this morning was the best I’ve had yet- as thick as store bought! I’m thinking it may just get better and better. Other than that it was a pretty fuss-free week. I pulled up things to defrost, grabbed canned stuff from the basement, cooked a big batch of brown rice and beans at the beginning of the week, I’ve been sprouting as usual… but I think that was it for prep. I am seeing all the value in my work done before each week- with canning, making sauerkraut, pear sauce, stock, etc. This way of eating seems to balance it out, though. Lots of time spent on one day to can all those tomatoes, but they make for easy and fast meals throughout the rest of the year.

What did you eat this week?


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Comments (13)

  1. pagangoat

    Yay food post!
    I love and adore Brussel’s sprouts, any and every way. They are one of my favorite foods. Have you thought about growing them? My mom has, and yum, they were sooo good! And a good fall/winter crop, I don’t think you even plant them until later in the summer.

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      We did try to grow them our first year- but they never really grew… I’m not sure what went wrong. This year we’re trying again, so we’ll see! Are you growing anything this year?

  2. 3squares_a_day

    I love it! the polenta looks good, we usually eat that for breakfast but I’ll have to try it with marinara sauce.

    I menu plan a month at a time, I don’t really like doing it so it’s more palatable a chore that way. πŸ™‚ I plan breakfast and dinner, lunch is leftovers, salads, etc. It really cuts down on the impulse buying at the store for me, and I can plan chili one night and chili macaroni a few nights later and make sure the leftovers get used up.

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Yeah, we love sweet polenta in the morning, but I’m really liking making it more savory lately. I’ve done it with oats too, with success! Let me know how it turns out. πŸ™‚

      I miss your posts!

  3. purerandomness

    You are really doing a great job eating all locally grown (homegrown) foods! Where do you get the local sour cream?
    I menu plan for the week and it has helped me out a lot in terms of shopping and saving $$.
    I can’t tell you what we’ve eaten for the past week (my meal plan was recycled on Sunday) but tonight we had guinness stew in honor of St Pat’s day and tomorrow we’re doing our weekly vegetarian meal of chickpea falafel, greek yogurt, spinach, and pita.

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      We get either Calder or Guernsey sour cream. I would get it from my raw milk people, but it’s pricey!

      Oooh, your food sounds delicious! You should definitely post some food pictures one of these days. πŸ™‚

      1. ladyfaith3

        here is the link to the particular story,2933,455067,00.html

        I thought I’d share. I do plan to research it more but what friends have told me it’s nearly impossible to kill the eggs of the parasites in pork by freezing or cooking

  4. ladyfaith3

    Love it!

    We eat very similar breakfasts, I try to keep it simple and we do buy cold cereal though I am trying to add more hot cereal and protiens. I don’t grow anything so every thing we eat comes from our local stores. I plan to get a standing freezer this year and really make the best of our awesome farm markets. we could also do meat locally raised. We have had Elk, it’s so like venison, they are free range and organic fed. I do believe the use antibiotics but not unless the animal is ill. There are dairy stores that offer hormone free milk and cheeses, also the Amish in the area sell raw milk and products.
    I eat more meat than you do I think. We have recently taken away some of the red meats and opted for ground turkey, or chicken and wild caught salmon. All my veggies are frozen save a few I buy fresh, it’s financially easier on our family. We don’t eat pork, not a religious conviction (though it started out that way) just a health conviction.
    I was going to post a “food post” but I forgot to put the pics on the SD card and can’t find the chord to connect the camera to the computer. So I’ll have to try again later. πŸ™‚ I think learning about food is exciting. I have a long way to go. Mostly I just try to stay away from most processed stuff and corn syrup.

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      It sounds like you are doing great! I can’t wait until you get your camera up and running so that you can post about it. It sounds like you have a lot of good potential connections once you get your freezer. If we didn’t have a big freezer then things would look pretty different for us, that’s for sure. I’d love to try elk… I really like venison. I hope to learn how to hunt soon, so we might be seeing more venison in our future.

      Why no pork? I mean, what are the specifics health-wise that persuaded you not to eat it?

      1. ladyfaith3

        well the pork deal really sort of started when we went to the messianic synagouge but since then it’s more about parasites and how it can be tough to handle pork properly. I still do eat it sometimes but mostly we stick to non- pork foods. My husband eats shell fish any chance he gets but I have never liked it so that part of “clean” eating was no struggle for me at all πŸ™‚ I try to keep it so that I know WHO prepared the pork I do eat. Our church had a ham dinner recently and I skipped it. Most of my friends understand of course, Naomi told me she was bringing me pork chops and I cringed…she has no idea how to prepare foods safely! I guess a little bit of it is still feeling a little spiritual about it but I did hear a story about a lady who went in for surgery on a brain tumour and what the surgen found was actually a worm that was in her brain tissue. It was from eating pork that had not been cooked correctly. That just gets me freaked out πŸ™‚

        1. Gracie (Post author)

          That news story is pretty creepy! Although, I tend to believe that any food- meat in particular- that is not cared for correctly has the potential for parasites and whatnot, and they can all get us sick. It was my understanding that the reasons for swearing off pork were a)religious b)having to do with saturated fats (which you know I have no issue with), or c)because of old tales of the animal being “filthy” and diseased- which I think are fairly outdated. I think it’s just a meat that needs to be cooked well, just like chicken and shellfish, to ensure that we don’t get sick from it. I mean, there’s mad cow and a host of other food related illnesses that generally seem to come down to not caring for/cooking the food properly.

  5. prophetsong

    That all looks delicious and very inspiring πŸ™‚

    2 questions:
    Do you have a recipe for your green salsa and how long does it keep for? I really want to make some that I can use over a period of time rather than having to eat it in a day!

    Tell me about stock! I am so useless at making it in batches and keeping it that I just end up using stock cubes and even though I buy good ones I’d rather have totally homemade stuff.

    Thank you! πŸ™‚

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Thank you! Food is so fun. πŸ™‚

      My green salsa was made when my tomato plants were all dying of blight and I harvested all the under-ripe green tomatoes in an effort to save them. It was also close to frost time, so we were going to lose them anyway. I think I just added garlic, onion, jalapeΓ±o, and probably some cilantro and parsley. Also salt and pepper and lemon juice. I also sometimes add just a little cumin, too. I bet you could make it with fresh tomatoes or tomatillos (to keep it green). Mine keeps for weeks in the fridge (although we eat it fast!), but I just canned them in pint jars and store them in my basement. They only need a hot water bath, so even if you don’t have a canner you could do it and have a bunch to save in your pantry!

      Stock! I only get chicken whole, so I usually roast it and then pick off the rest of the meat for other uses and throw the bones in a big pot that night with some carrots and onion and water. Then I bring it all to a boil and then back down to a really really low simmer and go to bed. In the morning (or even sometimes later- whenever I get around to it) I strain it all into old quart yogurt containers and freeze them. I also make beef stock the same way, although sometimes I collect the bones to make it if there aren’t enough (but you could probably ask a butcher to give you some soup bones). Some people like to roast their bones first, but I’m really low maintenance with stock. Usually in the growing months I will throw some fresh parsley in the stock at the very end before I strain so that it gets all those vitamins and flavor from it. Then I freeze it! You should totally do it! All I have to do when I want to use it is stick the container in some warm water until it melts enough to slide out of the container into the soup pot, or I pull one out of the freezer a day or two ahead and put it in the fridge. It’s so easy and so much better!

      Let me know how it all turns out. πŸ™‚


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