Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Lent




Yes, I know that Lent is long gone.  Yes, I know that it's now summer.  That's just what I feel like talking about right now.  Spring is one of my favorite times of year. So much potential, so much rebirth taking place all around us.  It's really no a surprise that this is the time of year where changing something about our current paradigm makes sense. 

I am not Catholic (or really any specific religion although I was raised in a wonderful Methodist church) but I seem to have an inordinate number of Catholic friends.   Lent is not really a big deal in the Methodist church.  I mean, we change the vestments and we might have a little more seriousness in the sermon but I didn't know anyone growing up who gave up meat on Fridays.  That's just not part of our religious tradition.  However, as I've gotten older, I seem to befriend every Catholic that walks across my path (or maybe there are just more Catholics down here now).  Many of my Catholic friends give up something for Lent.  I have a friend that gives up several beloved things every year (chocolate, coffee, wine, TV) only to go straight back to them after Lent stops.  I don't really think it's having much impact on his spiritual life but he seems to think it does.  I believe that God loves me (and you) and wants us to be happy.  I also have never 'dieted' or gotten on or off a wagon.  I usually decide to change something and then change it.  Or decide that it's totally ok as is now so ignore it.  I'm lazy and realistic at the same time-giving up something that is actually good for me or provides joy doesn't make sense to me.  If I'm making myself miserable for a reason that I don't understand then I know I won't stick with it. 

For several years I watched my friends limit things for 40 days, listened to them complain about how hard it was and remained confused about why they were doing it at all.  About 10 years ago, I spent some time investigating what all this self-flagellation was about and had an epiphany.  Lent is supposed to bring you closer to God, closer to your true self, closer to the best you.  It's not a time of deprivation for deprivation's sake-it's a time of introspection and communion with the Spirit.  For resetting your internal balance.  That is something that I can understand and participate in.  Each year I change a habit that distracts me from being my best self.  One year I gave up gossip magazines and websites.  A few years ago, I worked out every single day of Lent.  My adjustments don't always stick for good but most of them do. 

I've gradually gotten my family to adopt similar behaviors.  My son gave up spending his allowance one Lent.  What it taught him was how happy he was when he saved and that he didn't miss not going to Target with $3 burning the whole in his pocket.  My husband usually makes a change too but he's less public about what it is.  This year, I decided to drag the whole family kicking and screaming into my personal lent adjustment.  For Lent, we were giving up all foods that contained 'fake' ingredients.  The definition of fake in play here is MY definition of fake. Essentially my definition of fake boils down to anything that reads like a chemical or additive on a label.  I know that baking soda reads like a chemical on a label and that one is fine.  The problem for me comes in when I can't figure out what the chemistry is or what it's purpose would be if this food wasn't meant to last 10 years unopened.  Dyes, fillers, texture additives, coagulants, texturizers etc just don't seem RIGHT to me.  And really, why are we eating that gunk?  Because it's easy.  And oh, by the way...who in my house is eating that gunk?  The little people who are growing quickly and need the best building blocks.  Generally the list of things that to be purged for 40 days were things that were predominately eaten by the 10 and under camp.  You know:  cereals, crackers, bread, chips, ORGANGE PUFFED SNACKS, store bought cookies.  I don't even like these things so this was not a problem for me.  The problem for me is that I was buying this stuff and giving it to my family.  I say pretty often that homemade food is packed with love.  There is no love in a loaf of storebought bread.  By buying it and feeding it to my beautiful little sweeties, I was not in alignment with my own belief system.  So, my Lent would help me fix it (by torturing them)!  I promised to make anything they wanted-from scratch.  And seriously, if anyone can spend time making homemade crackers or bread-it's me.


Once I determined the challenge, I spent a lot of energy marketing it and setting expectations.  Around Christmas I started seeding the information and by Lent, they were nervous but resigned.  I was really going to go through with this.   the biggest adjustment was going to be in terms of bread.  My son makes his lunch every day and it usually revolves around some kind of sandwich.  I tried the Mark Bitman bread recipe which is easy and fantastic.  But, it's more of a crusty bread with soup kind of loaf. Fantastic taste, easy and chewy but...hard for a little kid to slice and needs to be eaten within a day or so.
Here's a pic of my effort:


I was looking for more of a sandwich bread that my son could slice easily and spread assorted toppings on without a lot of effort.  Also, I figured it would be an easier transition if the bread looked similar to something he's used to. 

I googled and trolled blogs but I felt like I needed an educational overview. Should I shoot for sour dough or something else?  What the heck is starter and how do I feed it?  To say that I am an avid reader is like saying I kind of like to eat.  I finally settled on a tour of the offerings at my awesome local library about bread baking.  After reading probably 20, I settled on this one:  Artisan Breads Every day by Peter Reinhart.  Not only is it full of useful information, it is EASY and really geared for home bakers. 

What I learned is that baking bread at home is actually easy to do.  Who knew?  The biggest challenge is that you need to plan ahead.  If you want bread today, you should have started making it yesterday (or even 2 days ago).  You cannot get up in the morning and decide that you're going to make bread from scratch for lunch (unless it's cornbread or biscuits).  I finally understand why there are things called quick breads.  Actual hands on time for making delicious bread at home can be as little as 10 minutes.  But bread needs to sit a while and meld after you've given it a little love (kneading).  Then, it needs to be shaped and then rise again (proof).  You can't rush it but you don't really need to fret about it either.  I even have gotten good enough with the basics that I can experiment a tad.  Here are some rolls I made using the basic sandwich recipe:




I was worried that this bread wouldn't keep very long.  What I've found is that the sandwich bread recipe will keep for up to a week on my counter in a plastic bag.  Exactly like store bought but without the chemically names and color additives.  And the flavor is much better than store bought.  My little sweetie skeptics approved the change immediately.  They did have a few gaps where we ran out of bread and their lunches had to shift a little-but hey!  That's not a bad thing in my book!


I also made lots of other goodies.  Cookies I can practically do in my sleep since I make them for gifts all the time.  I ended up making a batch every Sunday while I did my normal futzing in the kitchen:



I also made a cake once in response to pleading.  I don't really like cakes because I think the empahsis is usually on how they look, not on how they taste.  This one turned out lovely (yes, I know sprinkles have fake stuff but they were already in the drawer) and the taste was ok.  The pink color comes from raspberries.





The results of our Lent experiment have stuck (mostly).  I did buy my daughter cheetos as a treat the other week.  What can I say-she loves them in spite of their stinky-dog-foot smell.  But, she knows they're a treat and that there's nothing good for her in them.  I've not bought store bought bread again and I don't intend to.  The bread I make tastes better and is filled with LOOOOVE.   

Monday, November 12, 2012

Hi-Tech Market Prep



It's amazing how advanced most of the farmer's we connect with are in regards to technology and marketing.  Almost every farmer has an email distribution list that they send out weekly to let you know what they'll have and their price list.  Why would you want to do that? 
 
Here's a few reasons to get on a farmer's tech side:
  • You can make a list and stick to it-just like in a modern grocery store
  • You can set a budget
  • You'll have time to research the produce or cuts of meat that you don't know
  • You'll know which markets a farmer is going to visit
  • You can find other ways to get local produce besides a farmer's market
  • You will often getinteresting stories about life on the farm and seasonal changes
  • You will often get recipe links and ideas for produce that is in season now
I currently follow about 5 individual farmer's lists.  I've only subscribed to the farms that I use most consistently and/or who's operations I've visited.  That keeps my focus where it's important for me-helping my friends and eating with the seasons.  But they are all so different and interesting.  My friend Esta Cohen just lists what's in stock.  The email might have a few blurbs about what's going on but for a full update on farm life, you need to TALK to Esta (you really should, she's got the brightest blue eyes and a grin that's contagious).  My friend Beth from Wild Onion Farms will give you a little glimpse into what's coming down the bend and then tell you just how easy it is to get all her great treats.  She ends with a link to a recipe.  My family farmers at Edible Earthscapes often put their info on Facebook.  I get daily bits of love an inspriation from them-and I also get to know when the edamame is in!

Know what else is handy?  The farmer's markets usually have facebook pages and websites where the market manager will post goings-on.  This weekend, the Western Wake Farmer's Market had live music and face painting.  If you look closely you'll also notice the ring of yellow icing from The Sweet T fabulous flavor du jour around my little one's mouth. 
 
 
My kids have gone from protesting loudly about visiting the market to jumping out in all kinds of weather.  Most of the smaller markets offer some kind of draw-whether it's local hand-crafts, entertainment, samples or a holiday centered themes. 
 
If nothing else, you'll have a great time OUTSIDE for an hour or so and you can feel smug.  Farmer's markets know what everyone else is realizing-we crave community and they want to connect!

Finally, here's the market haul this week:
  • 1 tatsoi bunch
  • 2 spinach bunches
  • 2 carrot bunches with stems
  • 3 GIANT sweet potatoes (thanksgiving sweet potato casserole!)
  • 2 big bell peppers
  • 4 kohlrabi
  • 2 dozen eggs
  • 6 chicken legs
  • 1 pack of sweet italian sausage
It doesn't sound like much but the cooler wouldn't really close....




 
 

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Strategy Session



It occurs to me that I have developed an ability over 4 years (4 YEARS!) of eating a significant part of our diet from the local foodstream that most suburbians don't have.  I can basically walk into one of our local farmer's markets and come out in 20 minutes with food to feed my family for the next week.  Without a real plan.  My goal is to get as much of our diet locally as I can-without creating false hoops to jump through.  (I'm shooting for 75% of the volume of our food to be from the farmer's market.  I want 100% of our meat and eggs to be local, sustainably and humanely produced.).  We are a house full of omnivores but we have reduced our meat consumption over the past 4 years to about half of what it used to be.  Meat is expensive and because of that, we use all of the meat that we buy in more creative ways.

I'm going to try and start sharing what I'm buying (or getting once CSA season starts) so that maybe I can share some of how I go about selecting food and then what I do with it once I've nabbed it.  I am not trying to convert anyone to a new way of living.  I am not a purist in any sense of the word.  I AM kind of a snob in that I want an apple to taste like an apple (and not like apple flavored goop).  I don't want to eat fake food product-but if that's where you are in life, I'm not judging you.

I enjoy cooking and I realize that not everyone does.  It's a steam-release valve for me but I have lots of buddies who get freaked just thinking about making cookies from scratch.  That means that I've made enough mistakes to begin to have some 'go-to' recipes and methods.  I can be flexible when I show up at the market.  Not because I'm a great chef or I attended culinary school (I'm not and I didn't) but because I just like to get in the kitchen and muck about.  I'd like to share my mucking!

One of the things that drives me crazy is when people say you can't eat locally on a budget.  It is true that you can't eat the same thing every week of the year and eat locally-at least it's true right now in central NC.  But if you can be flexible, you can feed a family of 4 for a week for under $200.  I do it all the time and feel as though we're eating extremely well.  I could actually get it down to under $100 a week if I had to-I'm very thankful that I don't have to because I am a glutton for good food-this is not a blog about saving money after all.  However, if you really wanted to save a lot of money, you could grow a bunch of stuff yourself in your own little urban oasis....I sense another post coming on.

This week I spent approx. $170 on groceries for my family.  I went to 3 places over approx. 1.5 hours.  I did stop in the middle to eat lunch at Centro.  (yummm...Centro).  I could have only gone to 2 places and spent a little bit more money....but I like hunting for food.  Please pause for a lunch break.



Here's the haul from Mid-Town Farmer's Market (I spent approx. $60).  My market trips generally involve me with my cooler bouncing around from farmer to farmer.  I do one walk-through before I buy anything.  Then I start trying to build meal options from what I see around me.  For instance, the hamburger purchase came after I saw that my friend Jason had green peppers on special (frost is coming, peppers need to go).   It's also ok to ask farmer's what they're cooking right now for inspiration.  They eat what they grow-they know how to make it tasty.

  • 1 lb of hamburger  
  • 1 pack of beef soup bones 
  • 1 pack of sweet italian sausage 
  • 5 sweet potatoes 
  • 1 lb of green beans 
  • 2 kohlrabi 
  • 8 large turnips 
  • 6 small harukai turnips 
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce 
  • 4 beets with greens attached 
  • 8 green peppers  
  • 2 bunches of carrots-greens attached 
I'd like to point out an important strategy for eating locally successfully:  buy ahead for when things AREN'T at the market. I will buy as many carrots as I see for the next few weeks-because they will get scarce and they keep well in a fridge for months. I will buy any beans I see because my family loves them unrepentantly. I can blanche and freeze them for winter or mid-summer. I often buy more potatoes than we can actually eat in a week because they too will disappear and potatoes get treated with a LOT of chemical to keep them from sprouting. For the months of August and September, I bought 2-4 heads of garlic a week. That means that I still have 4 heads to go through before I need to resort to buying it at a store. If something is on special (meaning the farmer has a lot of it and needs to move it, I will buy it and then work my menu options for the week around it.) Fresh ginger is something I have quite a bit of right now because...well because it was there and I like ginger so I'll figure something out.  Winter squash, berries, corn, celery-these all have a relatively short season her in NC.  When it comes in though, it's everywhere so I do a little shuffle so that I can spread it out longer. 

  

We stopped by the Grand Asia Market and spent $10.  I am a sucker for cheap when cheap is good and Grand Asia Market really knows how to treat a girl right.  Plus, it's kind of on the way to Whole Foods for us and it's a great multi-cultural experience for our kids.  WIN-WIN!
  • 2 packs of rice noodles
  • 2 packs of mushrooms

At Whole Foods, we stopped in for about $100 worth of stuff.  You will notice that this list highlights my imperfections the most.  I try to go for organic when I can't get local.  I will sometimes eat fruit that is local and not organic if I can understand how the farmer treated it.  I have a lot more knowledge than the average person about what treatments mean.  If my children want to eat apples and grapes, then we are going to have apples and grapes for them to eat.  If I need a snack while on an airplane or in a rush, then I will have a Luna Bar.  We're all making choices and trade-offs.  My own growth continues and will be different  next year than this year.  For now, this is our reality and I'm okay putting my list on parade for full disclosure. 
  • organic milk-1 gallon
  • organic half and half
  • organic sourdough bread
  • sliced cheddar cheese
  • organic jasmine rice
  • large can of diced organic tomatoes
  • organic celery
  • organic grapes
  • organic granny smith apples-about 10
  • organic yellow onions-about 6
  • 1 lb of pecans
  • 1 lb of walnuts
  • dried unsweetened cherries
  • organic unsalted butter
  • pre-made hummus (i'm lazy)
  • 2 boxes of pre-cooked organic cannellini beans
  • Chocolate Peppermint Luna bars-1 case

Generally, I don't set an actual menu for the week.  If I do that, then I usually end up rebelling because it's too strict for me.  I like to have room for creativity and options.  To balance my need for creative with my lack of actual time during the week,  I spend a large part of Sunday cooking and prepping for the week to come.  Sundays at my house are usually for dessert making, stock or soup making and chopping/sorting.



This week I know I will have:
  • Green Peppers stuffed with rice, hamburger and tomatoes
  • French onion soup made with my very own beef stock and some of those mushrooms
  • Sweet italian sausage and kohlrabi-probably with some noodles and more mushrooms
  • A large salad with apples, nuts, and dried fruit along with those sweet little turnips
  • A gratin from the large turnips, a sweet potato and some little white potatoes that have been hanging out in my cupboard for a while doused in cream and the nubbins of cheese in my cheese drawer

This Sunday, I made beef stock with the soup bones, an onion, the tops of a couple of carrots, slices of ginger, and some celery.  That just bubbled away all day on a back eye while I did some other stuff.  I roasted beets and chopped up some sweet turnips.  I washed, sorted and stored greens. I took the tops off of the carrots and scrubbed them and put them away.  I actually made the stuffed green peppers.  Snapped the green beans.  Even though this sounds like a lot...my actual active time in the kitchen was probably an hour and a half.

My point is...I have this thing that I do...and do well...that I'm trying to figure out how to share.  It's not that hard really-a little prep, some flexibility, and a joy for eating and being in the NOW.  More posts to come.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Cornbread Cobbler

My friend Marian asked for this recipe after I posted the above photo on Facebook. I figured if it was good enough to gush about over on Facebook, then it must be good enough to post a blog about. And it is good enough people...it is.

Lots of cornbread recipes use half flour/half cornmeal. I like the cornmeal texture so I tend to play a little loose and use more cornmeal than flour but I'm posting the recipe the 'right' way.

This setup so nicely-crisp texture on the top, creaming pudding-like in the middle, soupy goopy peaches on the bottom. You're going to love it.


I'm intentionally starting to mark organic and non-GMO items in my recipes because that is how I cook. Aside from the health reasons that you should eat as naturally as possible, there are some very tangible taste differences between local and/or organic food. It's clearly your choice whether you buy organic or conventional. I understand the resistance and the cost arguments. However, if you are really eating thoughtfully, you can easily end up spending the same amount  of cash on better quality food. (Thank you to all our farmer friends for making that possible!)

 Peach Cornbread Cobbler recipe

Ingredients
 Filling
 6-9 peaches, peeled and sliced*
 2TBSP vanilla extract
 4 TBSP organic sugar (depends on how sweet the peaches are/how sweet you want this thing)

 Topping
1 cup organic yellow corn meal
1 cup organic all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ cup organic sugar
1 stick of organic butter-sliced into cubes and cold
1/3 cup of organic half and half *(you may need a tiny bit more or less)

Preheat oven to 375
Slice peaches and place in the bottom of a well-seasoned cast iron pan.
Sprinkle vanilla syrup over top.

 In a medium size bowl, blend the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and sugar.
Add the cubes of butter. Work them into the flour with your hands. If you’ve ever made biscuits then this part might be familiar. Basically, you want to smush those little bits of butter into the dry ingredients until the whole thing feels like slightly damp sand. Go at it with a will and it will only take about 5 minutes (although the first 3 minutes will seem like an impossible feat).

Add the half and half and blend quickly. Yes, it will look a little goopy but not TOO goopy. You want all the dry ingredients to be moistened but they will still form a little lump of goop when spooned up.

Drop spoonfuls over the peach mixture until the whole top is covered in goopy dough. I started thinking this recipe would be like drop biscuits but it was goopier than that and worked out just beautifully in the end.

Place in the heated oven for about 35 minutes or until top begins to brown.
Eat it while it’s still warm. Preferably with homemade vanilla ice cream.

*Note about the peaches-mine were local but not organic.  Peaches are one of the things that EVERYTHING loves to eat and we modern humans have gotten persnickety about wanting to make sure ours are blemish free.  That kind of snobbery can make it pretty hard on growers to commit to not using pesticide since they MUST sell their crop or loose their livelihood.  If you can find organic, I recommend them. If you can’t, at least talk to your farmer and see what happened to that little peach before you eat it.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Family Farmers



When I first joined a CSA, I was just excited to be eating seasonally. I wasn't that concerned about eating animals or plants that had been treated with chemicals. I was more concerned with the taste of the food-with trying to recreate the fresh amazing layers of sun contained in an heirloom summer tomato. Obsessed really.

Over the past few years though, my connection to food has morphed into something more complex. I now strive to make thoughtful decisions about most everything I put in my mouth-not just does it taste like the ultimate best version of itself but....was it grown using concientious practices? Is it local (or at least local-ish?) Would I feel comfortable if my child went to the field, picked this vegetable and ate it without washing it?

I'm still evolving and I'm not endeavoring to be rigid in my lifestyle. I eat bananas sometimes. I just am more likely to eat vegetarian at a restaurant where I don't know the source of the meat. I'm less likely to eat asparagus in July or strawberries in September. If you invite me over you can serve me whatever you wish. I will enjoy it, eat it with gusto and relish the time we spend together at the table. But when my dollars are making the choices...I choose food that I know the provenance and I believe that the choices I make matter.

It began with my farmers. Jason and Haruka Oatis are the farmers of www.EdibleEarthscapes.com. They are stewards of the land who care tremendously about the work they engage in. They believe deeply in sustainable farming methods and share their knowledge at every opportunity-in a kind, supportive way. Not only are they smart and hard-working-they are also genuinely big-hearted, interesting folks. We were lucky enough to stumble into their CSA on our first try and I'm grateful for that happy accident on a regular basis.

Haruka and Jason have gradually become part of our family. We belonged to their summer CSA for 2 years and then just this past winter joined their winter CSA. Even better, I got to be a part of the magic by delivering farm boxes to the Raleigh members each Saturday. They aren't doing a summer CSA this year as they try to navigate our extreme NC weather in a way that still allows them some freedom and balance in their lives. However, we still one or both of them just about every week at the market. If we miss a week, the whole family feels the absence. They are characters in our children's lives as much as any aunt or cousin. They have had significant positive impact on the way we eat (greens!!!) and the way we view our footprint on the world. They've gently nudged us to examine our over-consumed suburban lives and live more richly (without more money). They introduce us to new foods and perspectives that we wouldn't have appreciated earlier. We talk about food and music, weather and politics, extended family and pets. I often wish there was a more familial designation for them because farmer doesn't really cover it. Friend? Teacher? Brother? Sister? Aunt? None of those titles convey what they mean to our family.

Interestingly enough, we've added more farmer-family members in the past few years. What started with the Oatis' is now a broad group of people that I see and laugh (and sometimes gripe or rage or cry) with who I view as vital to my life. We recently considered a move out of state and one of the cons against the move were the farmer friends and connections we have. This weekend I watched as my daughter sat on Esta Cohen's lap and told her all about her new preschool classroom. And all I could think was....we all need more of THIS right here. Much love to ALL my farmer buddies-we are grateful for all the gifts that you give.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sharing (CSA)

This winter has been incredible-in ways both good and bad. We had the coldest, snowiest winter I can remember (we even had a white Christmas!). We visited Savannah, Georgia for the first time and fell in love with that city-the parks, the people, the ghosts-all are beautiful.
We usually have a lot of stress flying around our house-two working parents, two kids, two dogs means an awful lot of WORK. But this winter we had the added stress of a huge project at work, one parent changing jobs, and some tragedies too. Our beloved Uncle Al passed away in February after a long illness. It doesn't matter how long the illness-it still comes as a shock to your soul when you lose someone. Also, one of my aunts has been very sick and my grandmother was hospitalized.
Miraculously, through this whole stretch of dark, our household had one person get the flu (in early fall) and one person get a stomach bug. I believe whole-heartedly that our sustained health is directly tied to the winter CSA we were a part of this year. Our very favorite farmers decided to try out a winter CSA instead of a summer CSA. Somehow (I really don't remember how) I became the delivery girl for the winter CSA. Each Saturday I drove out to the farm to pick up boxes and shuttled them into a central drop-off location. I met a lot of new friends (fellow CSA members) and quite often got to teach new and random people about the joys of CSA membership. It was the highlight of each week and I cherish the love and support I received. I also appreciated the healthful food that my family received each week in the box. I would NEVER have purchased the amount of greens that we got each week...I would have bought 2 bunches and felt superior with my healthful-ness. Consider us a changed family! We ate greens in some form almost every day of the week this winter and will continue these habits!

I'm not a very prolific blogger. I'm so extroverted and people-centric that it takes a lot to get me to sit down and write about something. I much prefer to gab and gab about the things that I'm passionate about in person. My office asked me to write a blog this week for our public site-describing what a CSA is and how to find one. I'm being lazy and reposting it here. Happy Spring!



Community Supported Agriculture What is a CSA? CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Small farmers offer ‘shares’ of their farm for an up-front payment. Participants then get a share of the production of the farm for a certain number of weeks. There is a high degree of variability based on the kind of CSA you join. The farmer will set the pick-up or drop-off locations, the price and the duration of the CSA. Some farmers give you some choice in what your share is each week and others pick for you. Why would I do this? I could literally talk about this for hours (I have been STOPPED on more than one occasion). I am extremely passionate about this topic and have a close connection to the farmers who provide food for my family. Your motivation for joining a CSA could depend on lots of factors and your experience will depend on the CSA that you choose. Here are some reasons but if you need more…come see me.

  • You want to be less dependent on a global food supply

  • You have concerns about food borne illnesses or broad recalls of specific foods

  • You want to eat more seasonally

  • You want to eat food grown for flavor instead of shelf stability

  • You want to eat food (as opposed to the stuff sold in boxes in fluorescent lit stores)

  • You want to diversify the type of food you eat

  • You want to know exactly what production practices went into your food

  • You want a broader sense of community

  • You want to meet people who care about food or agriculture related issues

  • You want to encourage yourself, your kids or your spouse to eat more veggies

  • You want to have someone else decide what food you’re going to eat this week

  • You’re looking for an excuse to go to the farmer’s market more often

  • You want to support our local economy and small business

Will this save me money?


This one is complicated. Since I don’t know what you normally spend on food, I can’t really answer that. My personal experience is that your food budget stays about the same-you just choose different ways to spend that money. My family used to be dairy-holics and we ate meat more often than we currently do. We’ve switched to less quantity of those products and higher quality. My kids have also switched to eating veg (carrots, turnips, radishes) in place of some of the chips and crackers that they used to eat. Are CSA’s just for veggies? You can find CSA’s for just about anything produced on a farm-fruit, eggs, chicken, pork, beef, and vegetables. There are even CSA’s for yarn, cheese and cider.


How do I find a CSA?


Here are several links:


http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/chatham/ag/SustAg/csafarms.html Locally run site by Chatham county extension agent. All of these farmers are organic and/or sustainable.


http://www.ncfarmfresh.com/Directory.asp?product=&county=region®ion=2&CSA=yes&SearchType=farms&submit=Search


State run website that lists a different subset of farmers


You can also just ask at the smaller farmer’s markets. I’m sure there’s one close to you! There's one by my office every Saturday and Tuesday (starting May 3): http://westernwakefarmersmarket.org/


and there's my favorite local one: http://www.northhillsfarmersmarket.com/

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Shrimp Noodle Stir Fry


I wish I could remember exactly how I made this. But, since I can't-I'll just share that it was slightly sweet, slight spicy and heart-warming. Happy Holidays to all!