Fresh off of an absolutely perfect, restful and revitalizing weekend in Blacksburg for Parents’ Weekend or Step-Parents’ Weekend in my case), I feel like I am really ready to dive into this week’s food possibilities! I’m rereading Barbara Kingsolver’s inspirational book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and it’s helping me even more to feel in touch with what we’re growing at home in the garden. I’ve got so many cool weather vegetables coming in: lettuce, peas, radishes, beets, greens, beans, and even some late season tomatoes and okra! I am feeling mostly just thankful this week that we have more than enough of the food that we need. If any of you are feeling low on the good-from-the-garden stuff, come on by! Next year we plan on putting in 20 more garden beds (!!!) which will mean that I’ll be begging all of you to come relieve me of my overflow of seasonal vegetables.
Since we do have so much even now, combined with the fact that the freezers are feeling filled to the brims at the moment, I’ve decided to launch my quarterly “spend less” project for the month.
What does this mean? It means that I’ll only be focusing on buying the basics at the store: milk, flour, eggs, dish detergent. I have plenty of everything else on hand (grains, beans, frozen meats and cheese, bread, bones for stock, veggies from the garden, preserved foods, nut butters, nuts, seeds–you get the picture). I’m hoping to spend about $150 on staples this month. I’ve tried in the past and buckled, but I’m really hoping we can stick it out. What is essential in the success of this goal is calculated store trips. In other words, asking Colin to pick up some milk on the way home from work when he’s hungry or making a quick grocery run before naps when I’m straight off of my workout and starving are NOT OPTIONS. We always spend more when we do this. Instead, I’ll be keeping an even inventory of our perishable goods stock and replenishing a day or two in advance so as to enter into the grocery store in the best state possible: not hungry, well-rested and fresh, not stressed or rushed.
We’ve all been there so I know all of you get it. The better primed all of us are for our shopping trip, the more successful we will be when it comes to our budget and our ability to make healthy food choices. With allllllll that said, this week’s meals are looking good. I’m still working on a few dishes from last week (Habanero-Lime Chicken Enchiladas, Delicata Squash Soup) but I’m going to really enjoy throwing some freezer items into the mix: cabbage for stuffed cabbage leaves, ground beef from our local organic cow share, frozen flavoring blends like pesto and rouille, and some frozen beans and grains.
I’ll also, of course, be pulling as much as possible from the garden. Look for quintessential fall salads and strategically placed soup toppers (sage-butter croutons, crispy chard).
Monday Delicata Squash Soup with Crunchy Sage-Butter Croutons, Toasted Sunflower Seeds and a Coconut Milk Drizzle, Purple Baby Kale Salad with Radish Slivers, Toasted Walnuts and an Avocado-Vegenaise Dressing
Tuesday Semi-Veg Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, half stuffed with Curried Lentils, Quinoa and Jalapenos & half stuffed with Sauteed Swiss Chard, Garlic, Carrots and Local Spiced Ground Beef. All Stuffed Cabbage Rolls topped with a Fresh Tomato Sauce and Feta Cheese
Wednesday Diced Truffled-Salami and Mushrooms Saute, served over Crispy Spaghetti Squash with Panisse (Crispy Sliced Polenta)
Thursday Mussels Marinara, served simply alone, with Spaghetti Squash or over pasta for those eating gluten! I’ve pulled some Rouille from my freezer, which I’ll be mixing into the tomato sauce, but also offering as a spread on toasted bread
Friday Italian Wedding Soup topped with Tiny Adorable Meatballs and Crispy Garlic Chard (baked in the oven in olive oil like Kale Chips)
Unless otherwise noted, I’ll be serving Baby Kale Salads and Baby Mustard Greens with carrots, radishes, or pea shoots alongside any meal that needs more vegetable-oomph. As far as dressings go, I like just a simple sprinkling of lemon juice, truffle oil and salt, but I’ll also be making a big batch of Avocado Dressing.
For added protein, I’ve got some leftover Shredded Chicken and Sauteed Tofu set aside from last week to throw in to any dish at the last minute.
This week should be good. And cheap. Score!0