Friday, September 18, 2015

Apples! And scraping the back of the cupboard...

 These were falls from the trees in our backyard. I have made and frozen many bags of applesauce for the winter, am so thankful :)
This last week before we went back to the grocery store, meals became very much 'use whatever basic staples you can find in the back of the cupboard and create a meal that kind of goes together'.

Eggplant Parmesan

Classic meatloaf and mac n' cheese

Spaghetti Squash

Monday, September 7, 2015

End of my Summer Without Groceries Challenge... and BIG news!

You might have noticed I went silent these past couple weeks. All for a very good reason, I assure you...

...We found our dream farm! 10 beautiful, fairly flat grassy acres of what looks to be sandy loam soil. An almost brand new house, and a seasonal creek that runs along one side.

It really is a blank slate on which we can slowly unfold our farming dreams. The first step will be a secure perimeter fence and a pole barn. For which greater purpose we sold our wonderful Odyssey minivan... the story of the pearl of great price seems fitting somehow.

These past couple weeks have been extremely busy as we submitted paperwork, set up home inspection and figured out finances. Lots of dreaming and planning and crunching numbers.

So thus ends my summer without groceries posts. It was a valuable experience and has become a lifestyle of local, seasonal eating! I hope it has inspired you to find and support your local farmers.

My favorite part was opening each week's varied box of produce, I was inspired by new recipes all the time! You know you have a varied diet when your toddlers eat mashed rutabagas for the first time without hesitation (and ask for seconds).

Soon we will be inviting you all to come along on our homesteading adventure as we start growing our own food. Can't wait to share pictures!

Our OWN place (it is taking a while to sink in).


At last.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Week 13 - Lacto-fermented Salsa

I ordered a big box of heirloom tomatoes this week. So salsa it is!
 3 1/2 gallons later...

 My little helpers, getting into everything ;)
These Dutch heirloom Dragon Tongue bush beans are the best green beans, hands down. When cooked they have a delightfully meaty feel and unsurpassed flavor. Even when you miss a few beans and they become huge, they are not tough at all! Taste just as great as the young beans. Have been a staple in my garden for three years and will continue to be.
I make a pan of chunky gravenstein applesauce every few days from the falls from the apple tree out back. So delicious without any added sugar, just some cinnamon. The boys love it fresh and in addition to freezing it for winter, I have been making applesauce pancakes in the mornings.

This week's gatherings:

CSA share - $25
Veggies - $60
Beans, apples, corn - free
6 dozen eggs - $10
2 loaves bread - $13
6 gallons raw milk - free

Total for week 13: $108

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Week 12 - the meals

These are the prettiest beets I have ever seen. Wow, isn't God amazing?

Beet Baba Ghanoush with fresh pita bread. Definitely making this again!
 Grilled cube steak, green beans and applesauce.
 Baked purple potatoes with sauerkraut and other toppings, cucumber/tomato/feta/olive salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. So much yum. I would eat this salad every day for a month if I could... maybe I will! Cucumbers and tomatoes abound this time of year.
 Hamburger patties with raw cheese, tomato, sauerkraut, ketchup, and baked eggplant chips. Not bad! I have been trying to eat several servings of fermented foods each day and sauerkraut, fermented green beans and kombucha tend to make their way into a lot of meals.
 Lastly but most deliciously... raw milk ice cream... the best evah!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Week 12 - Sunflowers

Is there a more cheerful flower than a sunflower? These beauties now grace our table.

Here are this week's gatherings...

CSA share - $25
12 jars raw milk - free
Zucchini, kale, sunflowers, green beans, cucumbers - free
6 dozen eggs - $10
10 lbs peaches - $25

Total for week 12: $60

Week 11 - the meals

I did something a little different this week - since I seem to always be in the kitchen, cooking and washing dishes, I thought to cut down on my prep time by doing a veggie-prep blitz as soon as we got home from farmer's market yesterday.

I de-stemmed kale in prep for adding to omelets, washed and tore lettuce into bite-sized pieces, cut up carrots, bell peppers and cucumbers for snacking, hung parsley to dry, made new batches of sauerkraut and fermented green beans. I also chopped tomatoes, cilantro, etc. for a big batch of carnitas.
 Then the boys and I shucked corn for carnitas... they took their job very seriously ;)

Now, I have been craving seafood lately - so we indulged on a recent beach trip and bought some crab, shrimp and smoked salmon... then I found salmon lox at the grocery store... oh my, this week has been tasty!

(As an aside, visiting the grocery store for the first time in a couple months was weird... and NOT fun. I used to love shopping. Now, I just compare a big box company's offerings to my local farmers' offerings... and there is no comparison. A big grocery store is cold, lacking in fresh, nutritious food, and entirely devoid of relationships that add flavor to our food. I have enjoyed meeting the people that grow my food, and many of them have become friends this summer. We know their names, see their families, their hard work and sweat on these hot summer days, and the funny personality of each pig and goat in their care. This winter going back to buying food from the stores is gonna be rough.)

Back to the food...
Sourdough Crackers
Isaac and I enjoyed a delicious crab dip for the first time at a fancy restaurant last month - so of course I had to make my own. Incredibly decadent. Good thing we aren't afraid of healthy fats here!
Hot Crab Dip
 I loved all the dishes this week, but have been especially craving this shrimp salad that I used to buy whenever we ate at Abby's Pizza... except in place of bland iceberg lettuce, storebought cucumbers, cardboard tomatoes and MSG ranch dressing, I used all fresh farmer's market veggies - red leaf lettuce, crisp armenian cucumbers, and melt-in-your-mouth juicy heirloom tomatoes, plus I added avocado and homemade ranch dressing.
Shrimp salad
Fresh applesauce and raw milk for dessert - no added sugar!
 Look at all those perfectly ripe, flavorful veggies!
Chipotle Carnitas
Smoked Salmon and Kale Omelet

Paleo Applesauce Pancakes

Cashew Butter Cookies
 This is one of my favorite summer recipes - 5 simple ingredients! Chop a mango (in this picture I substituted local peaches), one garden tomato, one bell pepper, and one avocado. Sprinkle with dried dill (of which I have run out, unfortunately). Sounds weird, but the flavors are strangely addicting!

Chicken Leek Stew with Mashed Purple Potatoes

Chicken Alfredo Pasta with Dragon Tongue Beans

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Week 11 - Fresh peach season!

CSA share - $25
Other farmer's market produce - $20
30 lbs peaches - $30
2 lbs blueberries - $2
1 1/2 lbs yellow raspberries - $2
Fresh crab, smoked salmon and shrimp - $31
6 gallons raw milk - free!

Total for week 11: $110

Week 10 - the meals

Vegetables were the stars of this week's main dishes. It was nice to just have 3-4 veggie 'sides' instead of a heavy main dish during this Oregon heat spell!
Homemade pizza with soaked pizza doughmozzarella cheese from scratch, with fresh pesto and sliced garden tomatoes. Yum.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Week 10 - Raw Milk... and more Raw Milk... and even more Raw Milk

I have begun working for my friend as she starts up her raw milk business! I much appreciate the opportunity to help out in exchange for milk.

A. I have missed milking. Didn't realize how much until I began doing it again. I think I like routine, and orderliness, and cows... and raw milk. Just a leetle bit ;)

B. It is nicer to be an employee than be responsible for running a farm. Also nicer to only be milking 2-3 times a week instead of 14 times a week... 52 weeks a year, for years in a row.

C. Yes, it is possible for a family of four to use 11 gallons of milk in a week and a half... think 2 gallons of homemade yogurt, 1/2 gallon of ice cream, 1 quart sour cream, 2 lbs of fresh mozzarella and 1 lb of chevre... plus plenty for fresh drinking.

D. Milking when it is over 100 degrees outside is interesting. Not impossible, but definitely deserving of an iced chai afterwards... thanks to my employer for the deliciousness!
I also learned how to make tahini this week... an ingredient in my first attempt at hummus. Smashing success, I might add. This recipe is delicious! In looking for a way to include more raw veggies in my diet, I also discovered a way to use chickpeas and sesame seeds that have just been sitting in my pantry and freezer for ages, unused. Score!
As soon as I brought this week's CSA share home, I got some lacto-fermented green beans culturing on the counter. Can't wait for two weeks from now when they are ready to eat!
The colors of this season are so beautiful!

This week's gatherings...

CSA share - $25
5 gallons cow milk - free!
3 gallons goat milk - $25
4 dozen eggs - $10
Extra veggies - $4
Zucchini, lettuce - free
Light olive oil - $26

Total for Week 10: $90