We're an ordinary family, complete with picky eaters, budget concerns, and time management issues. But to prove that "eating local" works - even for busy families in cooler climates - we're trading Chick-Fil-A and goldfish crackers for grassfed meat and local produce. Join our adventure in learning to eat (sort of) sustainably for the summer!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Wha? Now I'm confused ...

Our avid gardener goes looking for weeds ...

... and finds a strawberry instead.  In late July.  On "June bearing" plants that had already fruited once this summer.

At this rate, the pumpkin plant will still be fruiting in December ...


Last night I fed my daughter and her friend Easy Mac for dinner because I knew they wouldn't eat the focaccia we were having and I didn't have the energy (or ingredients) to make a separate pizza for them.

Of course, I also gave them organic raisins and homemade applesauce, so it wasn't a complete breakdown in the system, but I still felt pretty bad about it.

On the bright side of things, it's been so long since we've made Easy Mac that Jason had to actually read the instructions before he started, which I take as a positive sign.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Conversation I have every time we shop for anything

"Mom, can I have (insert name of junk food here, most often Reese's Peanut Butter Cups or Cheetos)?"
"Why not?"
"What do you think I'm going to say?"
"'Because it's not local and it's not organical and I've told you this a million times before, so stop asking.'"
"(insert a sigh worthy of someone with the weight of the world on their shoulders) Whatever.  Can I have a peach instead?"

Week Seven Shopping Details

Total for the week: approximately $116

Click on the post title to see the details of the expenses behind the jump cut.

Week Six Menus

leftover crab soup from before the experiment

Disappearing Zucchini Orzo, blueberry sauce on biscuits

Ordered a pizza

Baba Burgers, steamed green beans

Cornmeal waffles, fried potatoes and zucchini

Pork chops in yakiniku marinade, sweet corn, ravioli with tomato sauce and sauteed vegetables

Linguine with tomato sauce and sauteed vegetables, sweet corn

Recipe - Baba Burgers

I made this up as I went along, and I didn't write down any amounts because I was sure I'd remember it.  Right. So take the amounts listed below as a guide of where to start, and adjust according to your taste and/or what you've got in your pantry.

Baba Burgers

Take 1 pound of ground beef and break it up into little pieces with your fingers.  Add about 2 ounces of crumbled feta cheese, a couple good shakes of zatar, a couple tablespoons of minced fresh oregano, a couple tablespoons of minced green onion, some garlic powder, and some Penzey's Turkish seasoning.  Mix it all together with your hands, making sure you distribute the good stuff evenly.  Form into four patties.

Grill as you would normal burgers, and toast the burger buns at the same time.  When the burgers are done, slather a thick layer of baba ghanouj on the top half of each burger bun before putting them on the patties.  If you have any pickled turnips you can throw some slices on there, too, but the burgers are also great without them.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Week Six Shopping Details

Total for the week: approximately $128
Click on the post title to see the details of the expenses behind the jump cut.

Week Five menus

In the interest of not repeating myself every darn week, I'm only going to list dinners here.  You can assume that for breakfast the kid is probably having a peanut butter and nutella sandwich, I'm having either oatmeal or leftovers, and at lunch we're both having some sort of leftovers or salad.

Gretchen's indulgence: lunch at the bagel store
Liza's indulgence: lunch at Chick-Fil-A

Ridiculously good cabbage rolls, German potato salad, first sweet corn of the year

Zucchini and tomato stew served over Ohio City Pasta ravioli, sweet corn, leftover potato salad

Chili**, cornbread, coleslaw, green salad


Chicken salad on "Like County Line" bread, misc. leftover side dishes

Wednesday and Thursday:
I forgot to write it down, so it can't have been anything that special, and it probably involved leftovers out of the freezer

** It was going to be great chili, with organic everything and local ground beef and local sausage, and then I burned it really, really badly when I was reheating it and we had to throw out an entire double recipe of it.  Very frustrating, and totally a good excuse to call Domino's and get something that was actually edible to serve to our guests on the 4th of July.  Pizza is patriotic, right?  Right?  And more than a week later, I'm still trying to soak the scorch off of the bottom of my expensive enameled cast-iron Dutch oven.  Buggrit.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Week Five shopping details

Weekly total (including pre-paid CSA produce): about $175
(This includes additional produce and meat items needed to feed my parents, who are visiting for the week, and some friends who came over on the 4th)

(click on the post title to see the details after the cut)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Recipe - Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Bacon and Greens

I adapted this from a recipe in In the Green Kitchen by Alice Waters, using chard in place of the kale, and following the modification that used bacon in place of some of the oil.  I also monkeyed around with the amounts a little bit so that we wouldn't end up with 18 gallons of pasta.  Super easy, super tasty, and the little bit that wasn't inhaled immediately reheated well.

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Bacon and Greens

1 bunch of chard, tough stems removed, and leaves coarsely chopped
1/2 pound whole-wheat spaghetti, cooked al dente
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 pound diced bacon
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large pinch of dried chile flakes
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
Parmesan or Romano cheese

Heat a large, heavy saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add the olive oil and bacon, frying the bacon until it is slightly crisp.  Remove the bacon from the pan, leaving the remaining oil and bacon grease.  Add the onion, chile flakes, and a pinch of salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender and lightly colored, about five to seven minutes.  Add the chard and cook, stirring and tossing, until the chard is wilted and tender, about 3 minutes.  Add water to the pan of the greens are dry, and if the greens are on the sturdy side, cover the pan briefly to steam them.  Add the garlic, seaon with salt, and cook for 2 minutes more.  Take care that the garlic does not brown.

Add the cooked pasta and bacon to the pan and toss to combine.  Loosen with a splash of water, if needed, and taste for salt.  Transfer the pasta to a warm platter or serving bowls, and drizzle a thin stream of olive oil on top.  Garnish with shavings of Parmesan or Romano cheese, and serve immediately.

Week four menus

Friday breakfast:
Scrambled local free-range organic eggs

Friday lunch:
Ate out at Botanical Garden (their cafe uses as many local sources as possible for ingredients, and we both had vegetarian meals)

Friday dinner:
Nicoise salad with local lettuce, local green beans, organic potatoes, local organic cheese, and organic salad dressing; cornbread made with all local ingredients except for the salt and baking powder

Saturday breakfast:
Cornbread from Friday, various leftovers

Saturday lunch:
Liza: Nutella sandwich on local whole wheat bread from Sarah Jane's bakery
Gretchen: various leftovers

Saturday dinner:
Whole wheat spaghetti with local chard

Sunday breakfast:
Liza: Nutella sandwich on local whole wheat bread from Sarah Jane's bakery
Gretchen/Jason: Cornbread from Friday, homemade blueberry buckle

Sunday lunch:

Sunday dinner:
Ate out at Crop Bistro, a local restaurant that focuses on seasonal and local foods

Monday breakfast:
Liza: apple
Gretchen: homemade blueberry buckle from Sunday

Monday lunch:
Ate out at Olive Garden (Liza's indulgence)

Monday dinner:
Salad; local gnocchi and pesto from Ohio City Pasta with fresh local peas

Tuesday breakfast:
Liza: Nutella sandwich on local whole wheat bread from Sarah Jane's bakery
Gretchen: homemade blueberry buckle from Sunday

Tuesday lunch:

Tuesday dinner:
Pasta salad made with local pasta with tons of whatever local veggies I had in the fridge, as well as local organic cheese and local salsa

Wednesday breakfast:

Wednesday lunch:
Ate out at Chipotle (Gretchen's indulgence)

Wednesday dinner:
Breaded local pork chops, tomato zucchini stew made with local zucchini and tomatoes and basil from our garden, leftover pasta salad from Tuesday

Thursday breakfast:
Liza: organic fruit bites
Gretchen: cheese quesadilla made with local cheese from Miceli's and local lavash bread

Thursday lunch:
Liza: Nutella sandwich on local whole wheat bread from Sarah Jane's bakery, organic raisins
Gretchen: leftovers

Thursday dinner:
Leftover cassoulet from before the experiment began, local tomato salad with Ohio City Pasta pesto and Miceli's parmesan cheese, local dinner rolls from Sarah Jane's bakery, local sweet corn from Fitch's.