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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Menu plan!

This week, we're trying some new things.  It's good to search for new recipes and try them out. 

Monday: Turkey burgers (not new, but easy)

Tuesday: Roasted beets and carrots, Swiss chard (from my mom's garden) over couscous, and banana mashed potatoes.  I had the banana mashed potatoes awhile back when we went out to eat at a Caribbean restaurant and knew I'd want to try them at home.

Wednesday:  Eggplant and sweet potato stacks with yogurt sauce, minus the pomegranate because we don't have that in the house.

Thursday: Bacon and beer mac 'n cheese.  We'll use fake bacon so that I'll eat it.

Friday: Champagne risotto with peas and poached eggs.  I'll have to buy some peas, but this sounds like it's worth it.

Saturday:  pierogies with sour cream, caramelized onion and lemon juice.  I know there was something else we wanted with it, but can't remember.  (Recipe: You can use leftover mashed potatoes.  Mix 3 cups of flour, 2 eggs, and 1 cup of water, adding flour as needed to roll out the dough. Don't make it too thin or the potatoes will bust through during the boil. Make a single layer on a floured cookie sheet and stick them in the freezer if you're not going to use them right away. Once they are frozen, put them in a zip top freezer bag).

Sunday:  If we're up for a challenge, we'll make stacked enchiladas.  That recipe calls for making your own enchilada sauce.  Otherwise, we'll have chicken pho.

I'm not sure when I'll get to these, but I will have to try the roasted butternut, apple, labneh salad with pomegranate molasses dressing. 
It's more of a winter salad, but it sounds delicious. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Menu plan

This week we're back to the family of 5, sans 3 cousins and one of their friends, sans two nieces - just Jaimie, me, our two girls and Jaimie's mother.  My MIL made bread today, which made me very happy.  We pulled off pieces of it with dinner tonight because it was still too warm to cut. 

For this week we have planned:

Monday: turkey cheese burgers with garden veggies
Tuesday: leftover dried tomato risotto from the freezer, chicken fried zucchini, and fresh bread
Wednesday:  Falafel with garden veggies, tzatziki made with garden cucumbers, with homemade pitas
Thursday: Spaghetti squash.  We must eat this because I just harvested 4 large ones today, along with the two we already had.  Anyone who comes over will likely be gifted a spaghetti squash.
 Friday:  Roasted beets and carrots over quinoa with banana mashed potatoes. 

We went to a flea market and there was a bulk food vendor.  We bought 25 lbs of carrots and 25 lbs of beets for $12 each.  We have stored them in the basement in damp sand so they'll last through the winter but it's always good to taste test the produce.  As for the banana mashed potatoes, we tried this a few weeks ago at a Caribbean restaurant that we love (they also have habanero chocolate cake that I've tried to duplicate but mine is still not as moist).  We'll have to make up a recipe and play with it, but cooking should be an adventure. 

Saturday:  We'll be at a wedding so we'll eat there, and get to see my newest niece that was born today!

Sunday: Back home and having leftovers.

Our adventure with 8 girls (& the menu plan for 11 people)

We have been crazy busy the last couple of weeks because we had 6 extra girls in our household, totaling 8 children including our own two.  We tried to eat all Real food, but it seemed nearly impossible when we went camping one week and had them all at the house for the next week.  Going through 2 loaves of bread a day meant that we were buying most loaves rather than baking our own.  We still did bake but probably not even 1/4 of what we went through.  Still, we were successful in getting all the girls to eat rather healthily, and despite the occasional request for some candy, no one even complained that no Doritos or Pepsi were offered.  When the eldest teen, 14, arrived with a nearly empty bag of Doritos, I informed her that we wouldn't be having anything like that for the two weeks we'd have them with us.

This is what we ate while camping:
Monday: Grilled cheese (with store bought bread) with wild rice soup
Tuesday:  Make your own pizza night
Wednesday: Pasta with homegrown tomatoes and herbs
Thursday: Tacos with several homegrown items
Friday: roasted chicken and vegetables (carrots, beets, potatoes)
Saturday: chicken fried rice with the leftover chicken.

We were able to do this all with our NuWave oven and a griddle, along with a propane stove.  The girls all had chores to do to make our lives easier (usually meal clean-up or prep).

Our campsite

When we returned, we had all 8 girls again for the following week.  This is what we had at home:

Monday:  turkey burgers
Tuesday: alfredo ravioli
Wednesday:  pizza from a pizza place for a beach picnic (this was the first day the girls were allowed soda)
Thursday: I can't even remember!
Friday: Roasted chicken, roasted sweet potatoes and potatoes, and corn on the cob
Saturday: Tacos

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A successful trip to the library

I was borrowing books from the library when the self check-out machine decided not to work.  I returned a book called Put 'em Up and it was on the counter waiting to be checked in.  A woman was at the counter looking at the book while I went up to check out at the counter.  She was asking about whether she could check it out because it looked interesting and I told her that it had a lot of great recipes in it.  She then mentioned how they had been canning cherry pie filling.  The woman behind the counter asked where she got the cherries.  It turns out that the other library patron buys fruit in bulk and sells from her house by the bushel.  I had to get in on that so I got her contact info.  Cherries were already out of season and blueberries were coming in.  We had our fill of blueberries when we went to a u-pick place a few weeks ago, so I waited for the next fruit to come in: peaches.  I bought one bushel (the smallest amount to buy), and planned what we'll do.  Since we didn't end up making peach butter with the peaches from the farmer's market a few weeks ago (they went into the freezer because we were busy doing other things), I wanted to make some this time.  I'll try both the sugar-free kind and this recipe made with honey and ginger.  Jaimie's mother will be making a peach crumble.  We'll also likely try out these spiced pickled peaches

Usually I get overwhelmed with the massive amounts of food we have to put away (we honestly spent more than 10 hours harvesting, cleaning, blanching, freezing, etc. this past weekend), but I am actually impatiently waiting for our peaches to ripen so I can work with them.

One bushel (50 lbs) of peaches - waiting to ripen

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Preserving our harvest in pictures

My youngest helping by washing the table when I'm trying to work on some herbs.
When blanching for freezing, you need to cool quickly in an ice bath.  We used popsicles because I could refreeze them (no, they are not real food but it is one thing that is cheap and the girls absolutely love.  We haven't gone Real all the way).

While cutting small tomatoes for dehydrating, we thought this center looked like a frog.

More to dehydrate

Getting herbs ready for tincturing, dehydrating, or tying.  There's lemon balm, mint, thyme, oregano, & parsley. 

One day's harvest! Beets, tomatoes, ground cherries, spinach, turnips, cucumbers, nasturtiums & herbs