February 24, 2008

A Week's Groceries

I've been thinking about doing this for a while, but never manage to either keep complete track of or forget to post about the weekly tally for our groceries. We have been doing the CSA for a full year now. I am so proud of the positive changes we have made since then. It has been like a domino effect! One thing I had to get over, and a common theme I often hear from friends and family is COST. Yes, in general, it seems to cost more to eat local, organic and seasonal - especially when you include grass-fed beef or pastured eggs. However, we have cut down our eating-out habits to about once a week. We have also cut down on extraneous side dishes at dinner (like pre-seasoned rice/potatoes/couscous in a box).

Here is what we spent for groceries this week:

CSA box + 1 dozen eggs: $31.50
1 brisket (grass-fed): $16 (2 lbs)
1 sirloin steak (grass-fed): $14 (1.25 lbs)
Wild King Salmon: $12.50 for 1.8 lbs! (farmer's market! fresh from British Columbia...not local) - 2 dinners
1 Trout: $4.00
Milk: $6.00
Extra apples: $4.00 (6)
= $88.00

Between the meat, fish and eggs + the veg we get in our box - we are good for the week. I swear to you. Sure, we'll get some extras like mushrooms, extra broccoli and we need a loaf of bread. And, yeah, we've got a frozen chicken that we are going to roast if we don't have enough leftovers once all of this is done. But, for the most part, this is it.

I hope this was somewhat convincing!

February 18, 2008

Grocery Store Wars

My son's friend found this on youtube. It's funny and clever, if a little corny. Spoiler warning: major plot points included. This is how my son learned that Darth Vader was Luke's father. So sad.

February 17, 2008

Knowing where your food comes from

When I saw Barbara Kingsolver read from her book, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" last spring, she made a comment roughly to the effect that giving up knowledge of where your food comes from is a really stupid thing, biologically speaking, for an animal to do. And we've all done it, given ourselves over to factory farms and multinational food conglomerates. We can't identify the ingredients in our foods, we don't know where they've come from or how they got there.

We're slowly backing out of that mess at our house. Bit by by, we're learning where our food comes from, knowing who grows it, incorporating that knowledge in to our eating habits. I've been doing it for the health of my children and the planet they will inherit from me. It's all big, heady, theoretical stuff.

Then the other night at the dinner table, we hit a new low with the 4 year-old. He wouldn't eat his spinach. We were at the end of our patience with his fouryearoldness already, and Not Eating Greens was the last straw. A series of threats ensued, all of which were futile, as that kind of desperation always is. Then, and I'm not proud of this from a parenting standpoint, but am quite satisfied that the message is solid, I said: "Nigel worked hard to grow this for you." Up opened the trap, in went the spinach. No hesitation, no questions. (No questions for a 4 year-old being a feat.)

He's met Nigel twice, once at a strawberry picking event and once at an overnight campout at the farm. It doesn't hurt that Nigel has two, ten year-old boys himself. Still, I'm in awe that his impression of the farm was enough to get him out of his funk and put those vegetables in his mouth. Makes me think there is something intrinsic in knowing our food sources and to respecting the labor that brings it to our table.

New Rule?

I think I should make myself eat the beet greens before I'm allowed to eat the beets. I never get around to eating the greens... but gobble up the beets first thing. Which is ridiculous, because the beets will keep. The greens, alas, they become slime.

February 11, 2008

Food Fast

Here's my take on the all-American burger, with a healthy twist! It's great for a weeknight meal.

1 lb grassfed beef
Grassfed is lower in saturated fat and calories, higher in Omega-3s, higher in vitamin E, and higher in conjugated linoleic acid. Grassfeeding beef reduces, or zero sums the carbon footprint of meat, making it the clear environmental choice as well.
Sources: eatwild.com
minced onions (optional)

Mix beef, salt, pepper, onions and any other seasoning you wish together in bowl and form patties.

For quick cooking, I use a cast iron grill pan. You get lovely grill marks and the flavor is as good as any gas grill. It's not quite charcoal, but it will do for a weeknight (and it spares the air).

For the buns
Whole wheat mini-pitas, cut half open and toasted
I never remember to buy hamburger buns, and there are so few whole grain buns on the market that don't contain high fructose corn syrup (You think I'm kidding! I'm serious, read the ingredients!). I've found the pitas are very tasty, you eat fewer carbs, and they're more versatile than buns, so you can use the left-overs for sandwiches.

Toppings can include all your favorite burger fixings:
sliced onions
and in summer, tomatoes!

Serve with sauteed vegetables, cole slaw, or a green salad. Total time: approximately 25 minutes.

February 4, 2008

Super Tuesday

After all the voting I've been doing with my fork these past couple years, I'm kinda excited to go out and vote in an actual primary!

February 3, 2008

Superbowl snack ideas - a day late

We had a beautiful little head of Wakefield cabbage in our box this week, and I still had half a head of Savoy left from last week holding up nicely! Cabbage plus fresh carrots = coleslaw time. I got a little carried away and have enough to last us for probably a week's worth of lunches. Oops.

We made a jaunt to the Marin farmer's market this morning to get a few supplies. In the pouring rain, we stopped by Prather Ranch and grabbed a package of beef ribs. Did you know how easy it is to make ribs? There is nothing better for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

1. Take ribs out of package and place in roasting pan.
2. Season well. We used a rub, but we couldn't even taste it after they were done. Weird.
3. Add some liquid. I have read people use apple juice - we just used water. Put enough in to just cover the bottom.
4. Wrap tightly with foil.
5. Put in a 250 oven for 3 hours.
6. After this, let them rest a little...then put them on a grill, under the broiler, or in a hot oven with your favorite barbeque sauce. Ours happens to be flown in fresh, c/o Mom, from here.

My coleslaw recipe is based on the one in the Gourmet cookbook:
1 lemon - half the rind (grated) and all of the juice
1/2 bunch of parsley, chopped
1 bunch of green onions, diced
3-4 tbsp mayonnaise (mix with sour cream or creme fraiche if you have it)
bit of water - 2-3 tbsp
sprinkling of sugar
salt & pepper
coarsely grated carrots (2)
sliced cabbage (1)

The kids were not big fans of the coleslaw. I can't wait to use Ruth's sneaky kale-vitamins-in-the-soup method tomorrow night!