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?