I can’t tell you how helpful menu planning has been to me. With everything going on around these parts, by four or five o’clock I’ve lost most of my gumption in the creativity department. When it was just Jeff and I, I would often make these elaborate dinners after work- it was fun. Now, though, I am lucky to have 20 minutes to clean the kitchen and get dinner started. So, if we’re going to avoid eating take-out or prepared foods all the time, then I have to be well-planned. And when I do menu plan, it usually stays simple and easy, and we eat well! So, I thought I’d share this week’s plan here.
Wednesday: Eggplant burgers w/ homemade mayo and lacto-fermented salsa, roasted sunchokes
Thursday: Dinner out at a friend’s house. Bringing a cheesecake.
Friday: Potato Leek soup
Saturday: Tuna cakes with roast squash and a salad, + homemade pickles
Sunday: Family dinner… not sure what we’re having
Monday: Crock pot meal- some cut of meat from the freezer + canned veggies from the garden and spices. Served on brown rice, probably…
Tuesday: Acorn squash quesadillas + lacto-fermented salsa
I hope to bring you pictures next week. I’m really utilizing the local produce we have available to us lately. Kale, leeks, potatoes (we finished ours off on Thanksgiving), onions, lettuce- all making regular appearances on our menus. Makes me excited for next year when I’ll get our greens right out of our own greenhouse. I’ll also be sure to grow leeks next year. They are something special!
You know, our journey with food is often of the "two steps forward, one step back" variety. We make big advances (like doubling the garden when I’m 7 months pregnant…), and then regress a little (like all the take-out burgers we had after a long day of gardening/baby soothing… ahem). I used to feel bad and like a big fat hypocrite when I couldn’t get it all perfect. But, after a couple of years of trying at this I’m realizing that we really are going in the right direction. Perfection is not in the cards for us, not with anything in this life. And given the world we live in, changing our food systems and the way we eat… well, it’s going to be a process. If I get too caught up in thought about what I’m not doing, it very well might keep me from working on what I can and am doing. I don’t say all this to justify the slackage, but I do know that lots of people just kind of throw up their hands because it all seems too overwhelming. But it’s always worth making a change for the better- however small. Even better- take a chance at something big (like this farm project I’m doing, some people are skeptical), and just see it for the successes. Because some failure is inevitable, but it’s always there to help us to learn and do better next time. So what is a failure, anyway? I suppose I see this season as a time for making plans for next year, and each year I’m excited to do more and more.
Last year I often heard people say discouraging things- that they couldn’t do this or that and wished they could. So, I was thinking, maybe we could all challenge ourselves as we face the coming year- and let’s work to not let our fears navigate our actions or plans. My plans? I plan to do an even better vegetable garden and to store even more of our own food, to finish our little greenhouse, to plant perennials and work on creating a lush and beautiful no-grass yard, and to work hard at my new job to see them through to something they can be proud of. Then, once the growing season is up, I plan to work harder to eat locally and seasonally- doing research and finding local sources for most of our foods, and working to make relationships with actual farmers. And so, I’d like to pose the question: What about you? What would you like to do in the coming year? I have a paper weight that my dad gave me years ago that says "What would you do if you knew you would not fail?" So, what would you do?