Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fun at the Farmers Market and Menu Plan for the Week!

We love going to Mulberry Street Market every Wednesday. We love talking with the farmers about the food they are growing for us, learning about veggies we were not previously familiar with (like burgundy okra, and an amazing assortment of heirloom melons), and stocking up on foods we know are full of nutrients and free from toxins.  Of course on most weeks, you will also find me there, selling my Bee Beautiful Products via my friends at Beans Farm or Salamander Springs Farm.  Next year we are very excited about having our own booth!

We are 100% dedicated to only eating what I would call "clean meats" now (you know, meat from pasture raised and finished animals that are never given hormones, antibiotics, or GMO-laden feed), and the market helps us out with that considerably. While we raise our own chickens (and eggs), we get our beef from Hunter Cattle Company, and our pork from Evergreen East Farm.  Evergreen East raises a heritage pig breed called mulefoot pigs, and they provide us with pork chops (among other things) that are just BURSTING with flavor, even downright buttery. We love 'em!  Hunter Cattle has a great selection of cuts, and we have absolutely loved getting our chuck roasts, sirloin, neckbone (mmm...pulled beef!), ground beef, and more from them. We have also gotten some delicious raw milk cheeses, as well as organic grassfed butter, from Southern Swiss Dairy.

We get our fruits and vegetables every week from a variety of places.  Davis Farm has an astounding array of heirloom melons which Joshua adores for breakfast.  We have also gotten sweet potatoes, purple basil, burgundy okra, pea tendrils, and beans from them.  We have gotten a veritable cornucopia of eggplant, cucumbers, okra, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, and summer squash from Beans Farm, Vesterfield Farm, Salamander Springs Farm, and The Little Farm.  We have gotten a few canned goods, too, like jams, jellies, and apple and pear butter from Salamander Springs Farm, salsa from The Little Farm, and pickles from Greenway Farm.

So I have decided that from now on, I will link my readers to the farms we get our food from when we do our menu plan. Sadly, we missed seeing our friends at Evergreen East at the market this week, so our pork chops are from Hunter Cattle, who also raise pigs!  Their chops are also quite good!  Anyway, every week when I do my menu plan, I'll include the farms from which each meal was sourced so local readers can get their hands on these delectable local foods!  As usual, where allergy means that Joshua's meal varies from ours, I list what he has, too!

OK, here is our menu for this week!

Breakfast - Ham, Eggs, fried grits (kind of like polenta, but a slightly different texture) Just Ham and grits for Joshua.
Lunch - leftover spaghetti & meatballs (with quinoa spaghetti).  I usually make my own sauce but this week both the sauce AND the meat for the meatballs came from Hunter Cattle
Dinner - NY Strip Steak, Baked Potatoes, Broccoli (Apparently Thursday is Hunter Cattle day).

Breakfast - (Butternut) Squash Pancakes (recipe here) (We're using flax seed & water to replace the eggs so Joshua and my nephew Jo can have them, these are already gluten & grain free) ((the squash is actually from Corley Farm, but via Beans Farm's booth @ the market).
Lunch - Steak sandwich (with pea tendrils and bean sprouts)
Dinner - Pork Chops (marinated in olive oil, cinnamon basil, garlic, salt, pepper, and a splash of ACV), Baked Sweet Potato, braised greens (w/ham and cooked in rendered bacon fat). (the mustard and turnip greens come from Salamander Springs Farm, which does not have a website but is at Mulberry Street Market every week!)

Breakfast - Smoothies, toast with apple butter (Joshua will have some fresh pear instead of smoothies). The Apple Butter is from Salamander Springs.
Lunch - BLTs, hard boiled egg yolk w/a little olive oil and sea salt for Joshua (pea tendrils instead of lettuce on our sandwiches)
Dinner - Chuck Roast with onions, potatoes, and carrots (Dessert is chocolate cake I'm trying with gluten free flour.  Will post results.  We are celebrating Jeff's bro and sis in law completing their move.  Hooray!)

Breakfast - Eggs, Venison Sausage, Toast and Apple Butter (no eggs for Joshua)
Lunch - Smoothies, fruit, celery & peanut butter (no PB for Joshua yet, he'll have fresh cucumbers, which he loves)
Dinner - Roast Beef Sandwiches (from the leftover roast)

Breakfast - Chocomole
Lunch -  Roast Beef Sandwiches
Dinner - Tacos (Beef) w/guacamole, salsa, tomatoes, Aztec Cheddar, and lettuce (on gf corn tortillas)

Breakfast - Eggs, Venison Sausage (just sausage and pear for Joshua)
Lunch - L/O tacos
Dinner - BBQ Chicken on the grill, grilled squash, baked sweet potato.

Breakfast - Smoothies, fresh fruit (just the fruit for Joshua)
Lunch - Leftover buffet
Dinner - Chicken (in the crockpot with carrots, potato, and onion)

And that is the week!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Menu Plan & Our Busy Week(s)

This week has been busy busy busy, which is why I feel like it is Monday, still, when it is actually Thursday.  Time flies when you cram your schedule full, right?  The end of this week and all of next week look no different, really.  So I am pretty sure that October will be here before I even know what really happened to August (which is, I am afraid, long gone, along with my formerly favorite season. Middle GA has turned me into a spring/fall gal)!  Time and I do not really get along as well as I would like.

Next week holds time at the IHOP in Macon on Sunday, lots of work on flooring and painting the other side of the house Mon-Saturday, with a little reprieve on Wednesday for the Mulberry Street Farmer's Market (and a trip to the library before that!).  In the meanwhile some fantastic folks and I are working together to put on a worship workshop for area churches by November, so a lot of planning and working for that will be going on in this next week, as well!  Never a dull moment!  It is at times like these that I really appreciate menu planning and the little bit of steadiness it brings to our lives.  How much crazier these days would be if I had to ask myself every afternoon, "Oh, what about dinner? What can I make?"

So I am going to list wherever Joshua's meal will break from our own in my menu planning from now on, because it really helps me to be prepared for what to feed him (instead of leaving his food to the last minute).

Thursday (tonight!): 
 Breakfast: Bacon & Eggs, (for Joshua bacon, fruit, and gluten free O's)
Lunch: Roast Beef (with a side of mashed sweet potatoes for Joshua)
Dinner: Sirloin Steak (pan-seared), Salad, and Rice

Breakfast: Oatmeal/Fruit (For Joshua probably just O's instead of oatmeal)
Lunch: L/O Steak (steak sandwich for me), (L/O spaghetti squash for Joshua)
Dinner: Tacos / Guacamole

Breakfast: Huevos Ranchero (Fruit, and hard boiled egg yolk for Joshua, we are switching up the fruits so he doesn't get too bored)
Lunch: L/O tacos
Dinner: Tilapia with Quinoa and Black Beans

Breakfast: Bacon & Eggs, Smoothie (Just bacon & fruit for Joshua)
Lunch: Yogurt, fruit, toast (L/O Fish & Veggies for Joshua) (Lunch is quick and portable because we are stopping at home only for lunch before heading out to IHOP)
Dinner (on the go): Sandwiches (on gf bread for Jeff) w/nitrate free lunch meat

Breakfast: Oatmeal with fruit & nuts for me, Smoothie for Jeff, & fruit and O's for Joshua
Lunch:  Tuna for us,   HB Egg yolk & fruit for Joshua
Dinner:  Ham Roast in the Crockpot, Baked & Mashed Sweet Potato, Squash (Sauteed in rendered bacon fat...yum!)

Breakfast: Eggs & Waffles (egg free & gf waffles) (Joshua will add fruit and nix the eggs, maybe add some bacon)
Lunch:  Yogurt, Fruit, Toast w/PB (For me), L/O's from Dinner for Joshua, Tuna for Jeff
Dinner: Italian Shredded Beef Sandwiches (GF rolls for Jeff)

Breakfast: huevos ranchero (Fruit & O's for Joshua)
Lunch:  L/O Beef Sandwiches
Dinner: Ham & Eggs w/Grits (Nix the eggs for Joshua)

And that is our week!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Meal Plan 9/8-9/14

The week ahead (and the end of this week we are finishing) holds many great things, and I am so excited about them! Tomorrow is my first worship practice since joining our church worship team! So many other things are also on the horizon, and I cannot wait to see them come together!

As I said in my last post, I plan our meals from Thursday - Wednesday now, since we do the bulk of our grocery shopping at the Farmers Market, on Wednesdays, and we do not always know what is going to be there. Our meat order does not change very often, but who has what vegetables and fruits changes routinely. And, of course, how you cook a certain type of meat can change drastically based on what you have to put with it. 

Here is some of what we have been finding lately at our farmers market!

Spaghetti Squash - We have recently discovered this gluten-free wonder. Our "experiment" with gluten free is over and this is what we have learned: I do fine with gluten, but have lost almost 20 lbs doing low(er) carb eating.  Jeff, however, definitely has a problem tolerating gluten.  On the one hand this is great news: we now know how to keep Jeff healthy and have seen from other real food bloggers that it might be possible to reverse this over a lengthy period of time.  On the other hand, though, it is a big adjustment.  Quinoa pasta is great, but it is expensive, too.  Thankfully, a friend of ours at the market has had an abundance of spaghetti squash.  The added bonus is that Joshua LOVES it.  He eats spaghetti squash with both hands!

Fried Okra - There has definitely been a surplus of this at the market, as well.  We have found a good gf flour mix that we like, and we do half gf flour, half organic corn meal, with plenty of seasonings.  Fried in pastured lard, this is almost guilt-free (it is not entirely low-carb, of course).

Sweet Potatoes - Of course, we cannot get enough of these, anyway. We are a sweet potato loving family!  We will mash them, bake them, fry them, oven-fry them (with Food Renegade's recipe!), and then some.

Eggplant - I never knew I liked eggplant before!  Cooked up in a little bit of rendered bacon fat with Italian seasoning, this stuff is pretty incredible!

Squash (summer) - we already like squash, nothing really too new here.  We cook it like the eggplant, or we skewer it for grilling with a nice marinade.

Green beans (of varying kinds) - nothing too foreign for either of us, here, either.

Melons - One booth in particular has a vast assortment of melons, and I must confess we do not know the names of everything we have brought home.  One thing is sure, though, Joshua LOVES melons of all kinds.

Pears - While we all enjoy pears, Joshua has enjoyed more of these than we have, since I am always looking for foods that he can snack on and we are trying to keep things relatively low-grain for him.

OK, so that is the basic assortment of what we have been eating lately, now onto the meal plan!

Thursday (yesterday) - Fried Okra, organic Grits, and a hamsteak.

Friday - Blackbeans and Rice, Beef (stew beef, technically) sauteed with onions and garlic, organic blue corn chips, homemade guacamole with fresh peppers from the market.

Saturday - Beef Kebabs for lunch with the fam (painting day), Pork Chops, Sweet Potato, and Green/Purple beans for dinner

Sunday - Breakfast for Dinner - bacon, eggs, and homemade gf waffles

Monday - Spaghetti Squash and meatballs (Gluten Free meatballs, using oat flour instead of bread crumbs), Eggplant sauteed with onions and garlic

Tuesday - Leftover Buffet

Wednesday - Chuck Roast in the Crock Pot (with carrots, celery, and onion), and rice.

So that is our week!  I am looking forward to it, both for the menu and all the great things we have going on!

The Only Constant Thing (aside from God's unfailing love) is Change

So, the little blogger app for my phone has not helped me post more frequently, it seems.  That tiny keyboard drives me nuts for anything longer than a text message.  But I digress.

My son, Joshua, is growing so so quickly!  With moving to a new place and trying to get my home settled, I never did try to make my own baby food.  We were getting baby food free from WIC, anyway; so while I wanted to do something better for him, I accepted that our needs were being met and an overwhelmed mommy was not going to do him any good.  Then I read "Real Food for Mother and Baby," by Nina Planck, and we threw out the baby food altogether (this is just in the last month and a half). Joshua now eats - basically - whatever we eat.  He definitely has a dairy allergy, and we have recently discovered an egg white allergy.  No fun, but, I am learning so much about sticking to real foods and avoiding his allergies. So his breakfasts differ from ours (because we eat a lot of eggs and a lot of smoothies), and some of his other meals, too. So this another reason for infrequent posts, because I have been spending so much time in the kitchen I have not left myself time for writing about the kitchen.

Joshua basically eats meats, fruits, veggies, and some grains. While I have not seen an outright allergic reaction to wheat, his dad is gluten intolerant so I am being pretty wary of it. Some wheat things he seems to handle fine, and with other wheat foods his eczema has seemed to flair up.  Lately, though, the eczema is diminishing greatly, and now he mostly breaks out in hives when he has a reaction.

I have to say, as much as I hated the eczema, I kind of prefer it to anything that could point to possible anaphylactic shock (which hives can be a precursor to in severe allergic reactions). I know it is a long shot but we are dealing with neurotic new mommy here and I have no shame in that.  Hives are scarier for me than red scaly skin.  I am sure Joshua prefers the hives, though, because they are transient and so he does not itch for nearly as long.

I have not seasoned anything as fully for him as I have for Jeff and myself, which means some extra steps in my cooking and such, but we tend to eat on the heavily seasoned side, and I do not know how he would handle things like peppers, or excessive garlic.  I would say we eat garlic in excess.

So breakfast is usually fruit of some kind, and some (organic and soy-free) gluten-free O's if he is extra hungry.  Fruit is either pears, bananas, or some kind of melon.  He actually seems to prefer the ones that taste almost more like lightly sweetened cucumber than like the sweet melons I am used to.  We have a good source of interesting heirloom melons at our local farmers market.

Lunch is often a reprise of the previous night's dinner, but sometimes is a hard-boiled egg yolk with a tiny bit of olive oil (to improve the texture) and some salt, along with cucumber slices.  He loves pork chops (and ham, and bacon), chicken is probably next on the list, and then beef last, but he will eat all of them. I have not really tried any fish with him yet.  I actually really want to try Nina Planck's suggestion of Salmon Roe, but it is pricey! If we have a little extra room in the grocery budget sometime soon, though, we will certainly give that a try. He likes the bone broth we've given him (so far just beef and chicken).

Sweet potatoes and green beans are probably his favorite cooked vegetables.  Though he also really likes squash, carrots, and broccoli.  Avocados, while technically a fruit, are probably his favorite raw veggie, but he only really gets those when we are eating Mexican. He likes rice, but I have not tried the quinoa with him, yet, in its whole form. He loves the quinoa pasta we get for Jeff, though. And he loves spaghetti squash and meatballs.

He has never had any kind of "dessert" food yet. He has never had anything with MSG or HFCS (and I hope to keep it that way for as long as I can). He has never had any juice, and never anything with any food dye in it (except in one teething gel when he first started teething. The cranky baby that resulted in has been motivation to keep him dye-free!). 

He is seriously loving the self-feeding experience.  And, in not pureeing anything, I get to eat my dinner at the same time as him, and family meal times are established. We eat together, we pray before we eat, we (generally) all leave the table at the same time.  The biggest downside, as we prepare for weaning, is that the more food he eats (and the less he nurses) the more he gravitates away from me, toward his dad.  And that is actually not a downside at ALL, but it does make me really miss those early days when Mommy was the most important one in his universe. Oh, dying to myself, why must you be so painful? Seriously, though, I love watching him watch Jeff. In play, when he works, all of it. He loves to sit and watch the chickens with Jeff, and he loves to watch Jeff's fish tank with him, too (a dream come true for Jeff, to be sure!).

He will be one year old in just shy of eight weeks and I am amazed, appalled, proud, nostalgic, happy, and bittersweet.  My little man is growing up!

I do our meal plans Thurs-Wednesday, now, because we do the bulk of our shopping at the Farmers Market, but stay tuned for a meal plan post that should have gone up today! :)