Well, last week went pretty well. Not perfect, but better than the last many weeks have been! The biggest success was coming home from our pea pick at the CSA farm to a roast already done, saving us from fast food! Yeah! Within 15 minutes of being home there were shredded beef sandwiches, baked beans and carrot sticks. I also liked not having a specific meal assigned to each day. It gave me the freedom to know that I had something on hand for everyday, but could make what I felt like making and fit into the craziness of the day.
Now I’m excited to try again. Let’s see what can go on this week’s menu! In cleaning out the pantry and looking at all I had on hand, I am pretty stocked up on ingredients for Mexican dishes. And we have 16 jars of canned salsa to use before tomatoes start taking over.
- Lettuce wraps with deli meat and shredded cheese
- Quesadillas – either bean or chicken, we’ll see what I find more of in the freezer
- Lasagna hotdish (made in the crockpot?)
- Crockpot cheeseburgers
- Tilapia fillets
- Spaghetti and meatballs
- Chef salads
- Chicken legs
Side-dishes will consist of LOTS of veggies! Our CSA has been delivering a ton of vegetable variety on Thursdays! We will have green beans, Chinese cabbage, peas (shelling and sugar snap), onions, lettuce, lettuce and more lettuce, some spinach, kohlrabi, cabbage and maybe a carrot or two. Fresh fruits right now include kiwi, nectarines, oranges and bananas. So any combination of those will grace our plates at any given meal.
What will be on your plates this week? Looking for some meal planning inspiration? Look no further than the Menu Plan Monday links hosted this week by Finding Joy in My Kitchen! Wow there are some creative ladies out there!!
Here we are…another CSA post. Just 6 weeks and a couple more picking events left.
CSA Week 14 ~ 9.1.10
Again with the corn. It will taste good with the grilling I’ve got on the menu plan for the holiday weekend.
The green beans will definitely be easy to eat. Probably for lunch tomorrow, as I’ve got some in my garden to pick too.
The pepper is HUGE and beautiful! Not sure exactly how I’ll use it, but I will!
The carrots, cucumber and kale will become snacks or salad additions. I think I’ll do kale chips again.
The zucchini will get baked and added to a meal.
Garlic? Well that is always useful. And the other little bit of green you see in the top of the pic? That is sage. If I don’t get to it fresh I will dry it when I get ready to dry more basil and oregano.
Look at that! A plan for all this garden yummy-ness.
A quick question too…Do you freeze carrots? Or dishes made with carrots? Tell me more! Last time I froze carrots they didn’t really get eaten. And I have the carrots shown as well as a lot of carrots in my garden waiting to be picked.
Obviously the CSA has provided lots of great fresh veggies, but we are also seeing produce from our backyard square foot gardens as well as the kids’ summer garden club.
I try hard to use it all up or preserve it for winter. And then I try hard to be gentle with myself for the things I do throw out because I just didn’t get to them. It is safe to say that vegetables have been taking up a fair amount of my time.
A few weeks ago I had an overload of spinach. I thought I’d try freezing some for a lasagna or something later this year. What did I learn? That it takes a LOT of spinach to make one little package of blanched/frozen spinach! This is some of what I started with:
Spinach from the backyard.
There was a huge abundance of lettuce so we ate salads at least once a day. We also ate a lot of radishes.
Recently Grace brought me 4 BIG kohlrabi from her garden. Along with the kohlrabi from the CSA, I was sure we’d never eat it all raw. It is really good with Ranch dip or a taco dip. So I cubed, blanched and froze several packages of that…18 cups total! I plan to use it for part of the potatoes in my potato soup recipe and in vegetable soups and stews.
18 cups of kohlrabi
And then, of course, there was the pea pick. I got 6 packages of peas and a dozen packages of sugar snap peas. I flash froze the sugar snap peas before putting them in bags. I plan to use them in stir-fries and read that if you take them out and add to salads still frozen they are good, so we’ll try that.
18 cups of peas
I can only imagine what else I’ll put in the freezer this year! I picked a large bowl of green beans already. I have to get out my pickled bean recipe. Yumm! Does anyone have any other good ideas for green beans?
I am always trying to make more from scratch. It is an attempt to save money as well as cut out preservatives and additives. Mostly, though, it is a challenge. And I love a good challenge.
As I mentioned Friday, we are re-doing our daughter’s room this weekend. So far it’s been long hours of sanding and painting. Today the painting should wrap up and flooring can commence. (this post was started Memorial Day weekend)
And while all this work is going on I don’t want to think too hard about meals. I also don’t want to eat every meal out for 3 days.
Yesterday morning I got up at 6:00 (not sure why) and was quietly hopping around different blogs reading a little of this & a little of that. I happened on this recipe for beans. I’ve made dried beans before, but they’ve only been okay. I’m looking for a GOOD recipe to get me going again. This one looked good and intrigued me because there was no soaking of the beans first.
I was worried because it didn’t say how much water to add…and I was sure there should be more liquid than 1/3 cup olive oil. Otherwise I had enough of the ingredients to give this a try. And it would be great to make right away and have for supper.
So I decided I didn’t have much to lose. I had 2.25 cups pinto beans so I added enough black beans to make 3 cups. I rinsed them and added the spices and olive oil. I didn’t have any onion but a large quarter so I threw that in the pot in one large chunk. I was also out of garlic. I did have a little bit of minced jarred garlic, so I dumped that in – liquid and all.
Then I was back to the water…I added enough to cover the beans and checked it a couple of hours later, adding more when it looked dry.
This was delicious!!! My kids even cleaned their plates! There was probably a little more liquid than needed so next time I might not add quite as much, but after 9 hours on high and 1 on warm the beans were cooked just right. We are eating the rest today and I foresee this on menus to come…it really is that good.
A small bowl of the first batch of beans paired with my CSA greens and homemade poppy seed dressing, made for a great supper!
*** I made these again. This time I kept track of the water I added. I started with 2 cups and then added another 1.5 cups about two hours later. Several hours later I added another quarter cup… it had a little liquid in it but wasn’t soupy. Next time I’ll just start with a tad more than 3.5 cups of water and see how that goes.
In looking for a use for my abundance of green tomatoes, I came across this recipe here.
The first batch I made I used a combination of about half lemon juice, half lime. I also left out the oregano and cumin. I also couldn’t get any long green chiles in SmallTown so I used a couple jars of diced green chiles. Oh, and I used jarred, minced garlic. It was good. Very fresh tasting. The lime definitely came through. I would’ve liked it a little spicier, but it was good.
The second batch was mostly made by my son. He loves to use the food processor. We used it for everything. He thought it was funny that the onions made him cry so much. For this batch I found some of the long green chiles and added a teaspoon each of oregano and cumin. The juice was about 1/4 cup lime and 3/4 cup lemon. This batch was very good too. Since my son made it he was open to trying it…and he liked it too.
I would call this recipe a success. Definitely a place to start. I dumped a jar over some chicken breasts this morning and can smell the chicken cooking now…we will have enchiladas tomorrow!
Yield: 5 pints
5 cups chopped green tomatoes
1 1/2 cups seeded, chopped long green chiles
1/2 cup seeded finely chopped jalapeños
4 cups chopped onions
1 cup bottled lemon juice
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp ground cumin*
3 Tbsp oregano leaves *
1 Tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and stir frequently over high heat until mixture begins to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Ladle hot salsa into pint jars, leaving 1/2-inch head space. Adjust lids and process in a boiling water canner 15 minutes at 0-1,000 feet altitude; 20 minutes at 1,001-6,000 feet; 25 minutes above 6,000 feet.
I have been meaning to do a garden wrap-up post but just don’t have the time right now. Maybe next week. I do however have a minute to tell you that I am adventurous today! I have never tasted anything with green tomatoes or done anything with them but throw them in the compost. I know. What a waste, right?
So I searched for ideas. You always see fried green tomatoes. I am not a HUGE raw/fresh tomato fan nor am I a big fried food fan (unless it contains potatoes, cheese, chicken or fish) so that was not something I wanted to try. I did hit on some green tomato salsa recipes that looked good.
This morning I made my first batch of green tomato salsa. It isn’t bad. I only had some broken chips in the bottom of a bag left, so I didn’t get a good taste. Dan felt like I did. I think there are definite possibilities… I plan to buy some chips tonight and have some tomorrow. Then probably make another batch. If we decide it is a keeper I’ll share the recipe.
What I like about it is that there is no blanching or peeling of the tomato! Much easier. And I think it would pair really well with chicken. In fact if we don’t love it with chips I have already decided that the jars I made today would still get used. I could easily add a jar to some chicken pieces in the crock pot and cook it all day. Wouldn’t that make a tasty enchilada filling?
There is satisfaction in being a little daring in the kitchen and saving something that would’ve otherwise gone to waste.
If you have any other good ideas for my remaining green tomatoes I would love to hear them! And if you are looking for more food talk on fridays head on over to Ann Kroeker’s for Food on Fridays.
We all got the seasonal flu shot in September. My kids are really good about shots and things so that isn’t ever an issue for us, thank goodness. The kids did, however, complain of sore arms afterwards. I suggested the simple and frugal of course, telling them to move their arms to help keep them from getting stiff. At bedtime as they were having a little snack I was kicking myself for not making mini-rice packs sooner. They would’ve been perfect to apply to the shot spots. The warmth from them can be really soothing.
As I was lamenting my lack of planning I realized that I could complain about not having what we needed or I could make do. I went to the rag bag and pulled two old socks without holes (they were either the pair to a holey sock or just too small) and put some rice in each. Tied with some cotton string I had, they were complete. A very short time in the microwave and the kids were off to bed, both happy with their warm little buddy.
The next morning both arms were feeling better and the kids thanked me for the little warm packs. I think the little bundles of warmth did help some, but I also think that children are sometimes soothed by the idea that mom or dad did something to help.
Either way, we made-do that day.
To read more make-do ideas and get in the make-do mindset, head on over to My Practically Perfect Life!
I love autumn and all the back to school stuff that goes along with it. Cooler days. New supplies. Routine. I crave it all. But I rein myself in when it comes to the gargantuan lists that schools send out. And all the new school clothes ads.
Never a fan of all the character products, my kids are used to my “no” in response to the cheaply made Barbie backpack. I often order backpacks and lunchboxes from quality retailers like LL Bean and Lands End. These places make rugged stuff and stand by it. Consequently I only need backpacks for the kids every other year, if that. If one wears out, we replace it. Not before.
Before buying pencils, folders and notebooks, we check my stash of extras. I have two boxes of pencils and pens. No doubt a dozen good ones can be found for each child. Folders? Plenty on the shelf. Notebooks? There is over half a case left from last year. Scissors and pencil case? Get out last years.
My kids don’t really mind. They don’t complain. And that means that when they do ask for something special, I can indulge them.
I think the biggest part of this is the conscious effort I make to lower my kids’ expectations in this area. Once my girl was disappointed that her folders were just the plain ones. I explained that they made a great place to doodle. It didn’t take long for her to fill that folder with her art, making it uniquely hers. When your pencil doesn’t come out of a box of 24 yellow #2s, it is easy to see if Tommy really did steal your favorite pencil.
I don’t like to waste money or supplies that still have some use. Stocking up is done when there is a fantastic deal. I once bought the “cool” folders with “stuff” on them for 9 cents a piece in February. Kleenex is stockpiled when the sales start and I have coupons.
In short, what works for me when it comes to getting ready to go back to school, is keeping my kids from buying into the back-to-school shopping hype. When they can be sure they’ll get what they need, when they need it, they learn that just because there are 17 aisles devoted to something doesn’t mean we need much of it.
We are THAT Family has a great many back-to-school tips over there for WFMW. Check it out…you won’t be disappointed.