Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Few More Great Dinners!

Monday night:

Rotini pasta with chopped agretti, cilantro, olive oil, spices and some cheddar cheese grated on top, with a side of spigariello lightly sauteed in olive oil. Mmmmmmm...

Tuesday night:

Frittata with turnip greens, cilantro, and cheddar, eaten with homemade 1/2 whole wheat biscuits.

Wednesday night:

Soup! Chicken breast boiled in water and shredded, about 1/2 cup rice, 1/2 a purple cabbage, 3 baby turnips, 5 baby carrots (real ones, not the little shaved things from the store), 2 leeks, all chopped and simmered with the water and chicken after the chicken was cooked and the rice was mostly cooked. Can't forget the spices! Salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic. Topped off with about 12 ounces of 2% evaporated milk. Most of the veggies became creamy, with just a few soft chunks to accompany the shredded chicken. This was really yummy! And to accompany the soup, we had some homemade 1/2 whole wheat apple strudel muffins. Yum yum!

I think we're starting to get better at knowing how to use our veggies...

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Must Read

If you are a regular reader of my blog, PLEASE read this article:

Please read the whole thing!

I challenge everyone who reads this to act on it. And let me know how it's going!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Michael Buble

Just in case any of you have not yet discovered Michael Buble and will appreciate knowing about him (although I always seem to be the last person to know about things...), here is yet another song that I LOVE, and want to dance to like crazy.

Isn't his voice just awesome??

Barbara Kingsolver = My Heroine

Okay, so, per my post below, I'm writing a post about 'how Barbara Kingsolver is my new heroine', and I'm combining it with 'our new wine crate garden'. The previous post about our dinner can be read as on offshoot of this post as well.

Have you read the book Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver? If you haven't, you should. That book has literally inspired me to change the way I live my life in regards to food and food making and food buying habits. She has the perfect blend of wry humor and wit and intelligence and plain old FACTS, and vignettes of different facets of her experiment for her family of four to eat only local food for an entire year. While reading that book, I wanted to dig my fingers into the soil and plant and harvest things, and I wanted to cook and eat and can lots of fruits and vegetables, and I wanted to own chickens, and make cheese, and stop eating animals that not only spent their lives crammed together, but who also had lower levels of important vitamins and other nutrients, and whose eggs had higher levels of the bad kind of cholesterol than their pasture fed cage free counterparts. (Make no mistake, I have no intention of ever becoming vegetarian voluntarily.)

Long before I was finished reading the book, Peter and I had decided it would be extraordinarily clever of us to find some wooden wine crates for free from a wine or liquor store to use as square foot gardening boxes. So we did. And you know what? It really was extraordinarily clever of us! It's working like a charm! We have no dirt of our own, and no sunlight in our back patio, pretty much ever, so, on our front porch we currently have 7 wooden wine crates filled with little growing plants, with plans to find 5 or 6 more. In these boxes, we have squash, peas, spinach, lima beans, and lettuce, accompanied by a couple of potted strawberry plants.

A little over a week ago, we were notified that a garden plot was waiting for us that we had been on a waiting list for. So for the last week we've been going over to our garden weeding, turning the soil, transplanting the thinned out plants from our wine crates (it's worth a try, right?) and some other plants, and finally, today, planting new seeds! We transplanted a potted tomato plant and strawberry plant, and several squash plants. And today we planted: green onions, yellow onions, serrano peppers, jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, corn, zucchini, cantaloupe, honeydew and one other kind of melon, spinach, and basil!

I have to tell you, the satisfaction I feel from seeing little plants poke out of the ground from tiny seeds we planted and watered is pretty profound. I am profoundly satisfied with my gardens! And hopefully, if we have thumbs anywhere near the color green, we'll be eating our own organically homegrown vegetables in our meals, right around the time our Two Small Farms first 9 week period is over.

Now we can sit back and wait for the fruits of our labor, and while we're waiting, we'll munch on a little bit of that homemade cheese.


Our Dinner Tonight

So, recently we signed up for a CSA called Two Small Farms, which delivers fresh veggies to a pickup site nearby (closer than our easy walking distance library). It is a big box of veggies. So big, that in order not to waste any (and to benefit the budget), we are splitting the box with some friends of ours. We've had a fun time incorporating vegetables (some that we've never even heard of before) into our meals in semi-creative ways. Some of the things we've had since we got our first box a week and a half ago are:

*(Potato) & cardoon gratin
*(Potato), carrot, parsnip soup
*Spinach/(tomato) pizza
*Arugula/(tomato) pizza
*Mushroom/radish green/Wensleydale cheese omelette

and the one that takes the cake so far is tonight's dinner:

*salad greens (none of it was lettuce...) with grated radish, grated carrot, boiled eggs, sliced lunchmeats, Wensleydale cheese, (tomato), (black beans), and HOMEMADE mozzarella cheese. Yum! This was served with a side of applesauce.

The fruits/veggies/veggie-like things in parentheses did not come from Two Small Farms.

There were other things we got that were incorporated in smaller ways, like celery for ants on a log, etc.

Using all the vegetables is a challenge and is definitely changing the way we eat for the better. For one thing, it's hard to see yourself spending money on something that goes to waste, so we feel like we HAVE to use it all. We already wasted some mustard greens that we didn't know how to use (because they are spicy and bitter and needed more thought beforehand), but we aim to do a better job in the future. Now we need to find a way to use our agretti and our fennel, preferably before Friday, when we get the next box!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Being a Mom

Being a mom is really really REEEAAAALLY hard work. Being a mom is how you really learn what unconditional love is--especially being a mom of a two year old (I don't know how I'm going to survive the teen years...). Being a mom is working full time and being underappreciated, yet somehow continuing on hour after hour after hour, day after day after day. Being a mom is stopping writing a blog so you can bring up Monk-e-mail on the computer for your two year old.