Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Menu Plan: August 30-Sept 5, 2010

This week, we are having a "clean out the freezer" week as our fall beef order is scheduled to be ready this weekend and we are also getting 6 fryers and a duck (!!!) from our pastured poultry farmer this weekend.

Here is our menu. Locally grown or raised items are in bold.


*Oatmeal with pecans and honey
*Yogurt with honey or maple syrup and sliced pears
*Granola (local honey and pecans) and milk
*Scrambled Eggs and grits (someone now raises and grinds several different corn products and sells them at our farmer's market).
*Pancakes or waffles with maple syrup or honey and cut up fruit
*Peach and blueberry smoothie


Baked Potatoes
Freezer Meals that have been packaged in individual servings


Grilled T-Bones and Sirloins (using up the last of our spring beef order) with baked potatoes and steamed broccoli

Spaghetti (we are using rice noodles since regular noodles do not agree with hubby - i hope we like them), green salad and sauted squash

Homemade Pizza (plain cheese or cheese and black olives for the boys and what ever we can find in the freezer to use as toppings for hubby and I) and a green salad

Roasted chicken, sweet corn and sweet potatoes (though I may try Alea's sweet potato recipe if I can get my hands on some cauliflower)

Tuna burgers with home grown micro-greens (if they are ready to use by then) and cut up fruit

Soup (probably chicken noodle that way we can use up lots of our frozen local veggies) and cornbread (cornmeal and eggs from the market)

Ok, so while I am excited beyond belief to be getting a pasture raised duck from our poultry farmer, I am unsure of how to prepare it. I'd really like to just roast this one to keep it as simple as possible to see if the family likes duck. Anyone have any tips? TIA :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Chicken Update

The nesting box is built. A few weeks ago I mentioned that since the girls will begin laying eggs soon, I had decided to build nesting boxes to put into the existing run until we can get something else built. I am pleased with the results and so are, it appears, the girls, who jumped up to investigate our work as soon as we finished. We put it in the run and filled it with bedding, now all we need are some golf balls or other fake eggs to encourage the girls. I think we will probably also paint it, at least the outside, to help prevent it falling apart since it will be "outside" the coop (but inside the run) for at least a month or so.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Its a . . . . . .


We are so excited!! Its funny, I thought I really wanted a girl, but when he said boy, this sense of relief washed over me. He looks like he is growing great. All things appear to be as they should. We think he will be a big one, like boy #2, since he is measuring a little big for his age.

I am also doing well. Being over 40, we are concerned that I might have more problems than usual, and considering my history (pregnancy induced hypertension with #1 and borderline gestational diabetes with #2) we would not have been surprised with some issues. But we had a great check up - blood pressure fine, blood sugar great, weight gain minimal; all in all good news.

We are a little over the half way point, so I guess now is the time to get some of my projects completed. I'll post about things as we get them done.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Granola and Tomatoes

Last weekend at the farmer's market, I bought more cherry tomatoes from the heirloom grower than we could eat before they went bad, so I put the rest in the dehydrator this morning. They will be so yummy on pizza in the coming months.

I rarely buy cereal anymore and instead we make granola in the crock pot (it goes cooks more slowly so if I forget about it for 15 minutes, it does not end up a charred mess). I've got some of this going in the kitchen right now.

Here is how we make it:

Turn slow cooker on low and add a stick of butter, abut 1/4 cup coconut oil, about 1/4 cup brown sugar, about 1/4 cup local honey and a pinch of salt. Allow the butter to melt and then stir everything together. Add 6-10 cups oats (I use quick oats because my family does not like the results when I used old fashioned rolled oats, and we lean towards the high end - almost 10 cups of oats, as my family prefers the granola more dry and less sweet) and stir to combine. Add nuts if you like them. "Cook" with the lid off, stirring about once every 15 minutes or so for about 1.5 hours then turn off the crock pot and allow the granola to cool. Once cool, you can add all kinds of "goodies" like coconut flakes and dried fruit, if you like. Store in an airtight container. Don't know how long it will stay good, as it usually does not last very long at the cabin.

I am hoping to try a sprouted cereal soon. I just need to make time to get to the health food store for the raw materials. If I ever get around to doing it, I'll post pics and such.

edited to add finished granola picture.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Garden Update: Fall Garden and Garden Addition Plans

Well, there is not much to take pictures of right now in the garden. The only things growing now are parsley, mint, basil, bunching onions (and they died back when it was so hot and dry), a pineapple top I planted as an experiment and one or two lettuce plants that survived the assault by the 60 lb puppy.Mint that has started growing again after all of the heat lately.

I put the fence back up and planted some seeds for fall. So far, I've planted broccoli seeds, swiss chard, kale, spinach and some sprouting ginger. Still to go in are beets, potatoes and carrots. I'm also thinking of adding snow peas which we've grown during winter before, though not in this planting zone.

This was a pineapple top I planted several months ago. It is starting to grow new leaves (lighter colored than the original)

We also did some planning over the weekend and decided that while the location of the garden will be fine during the winter, it does not get enough sunlight during the summer when the trees have leaves, so we are building more raised beds in other locations of the property that get more sun. These will need to be built in the next few months since I may have a high needs baby in the spring.
I know the chickens are not technically part of the garden, but since they fertilize it and eat so much of it, I'll put the chicken update here with the garden. After much debating, I've decided against building a new coop for the layers. Instead, I am going to add laying boxes to the existing run. Not only will this be easier for me, but the chickens will probably like it better, since they are creatures of habit and do not take very well to change. Another bonus is that the girls will probably start laying as soon as the weather cools a bit and there is definitely more of a chance I will have laying boxes built in time. We will build a chicken tractor with an enclosure for the little group of hens and rooster that we are hoping will become parents, but that can wait since I really don't want little ones while the weather is cold.

The roosters are getting so beautiful. Their long draping feathers are growing in nicely and they are becoming so colorful. One of them is a dark red with iridescent dark green tail and shoulder feathers. The boys call him "Pawski" after my Dad. He is in the picture above surrounded by his girls :)One of the others (Casanova - he is the most amorous) is a beautiful gold color with lots of rust and dark greenish black tail feathers. He is pictured above with the Dominique rooster who is so huge. The one below is a Barred Plymoth I think, (based on his coloring and comb). So pretty, don't you think? Can you see the pretty colors this one has on his sides. They boys call him Hawkie because his comb looks like a mohawk, lol.

Most of the time, Pawskie (the Rhode Island Red) is the only one to hang out with the girls. He is a wonderful protector. The other Roos usually just act like frat boys hanging out together unless they are feeling amorous. Usually. It is actually quite interesting to see the flock dynamic beginning to develop and to watch the guys taking care of the girls, but that's another blog post.

Edited to add pictures.

Menu Plan Monday, August 9-15, 2010

School is starting again, and I can tell by the fact that our schedule is slowing down. We are not visiting anyone this week and no one is visiting us this week. Summer is always so busy for us that even when I'm not pregnant I can barely keep up. I am looking forward to the regular routine and the slower pace - oh and also the cooler weather :)

We try to eat locally as much as possible, so I will highlight the local items in our menu in bold.

Breakfasts (with some repeats):

*Stuffed French Toast Strata with fruit from the farmer's market
*Homemade Waffles (we have some in the freezer from last week) and local fruit
*Eggs and grits (local eggs are harder to come by now that the weather is so hot - hoping for cool weather soon!!)
*Oatmeal with pecans and blueberries or peaches


*We were gifted with several pounds of sliced deli meats and cheeses so we will make sandwiches for lunch on most days and have them with fruit and cut up veggies or pickles.
*Baked Potatoes with broccoli cheese soup or just butter and cheese


*Homemade Yogurt with maple syrup and/ or fruit
*Zucchini Bread (need to start using up some of that zucchini in the freezer :)
*Smoothies (blueberries and peaches)
*Cucumbers and carrots in dip
*Hummus and pita


Monday: Gyros, hummus (garlic from the market) and pita and tabbouleh salad (parsley and mint from the garden, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions from farmer's market)

Tuesday: Roasted Chicken Pesto (basil from the garden) Panini, cucumber and tomato salad

Wednesday: Tuna Patties with sauted squash and cut up fruit

Thursday: Soup (probably Minestrone - chicken stock, squash, zucchini and corn from the neighbor's garden), homemade breadsticks and Caesar salad

Friday: Mongolian Beef with Stir Fried Veggies over rice

Saturday: Leftovers unless we find something amazing at the market that we cannot wait to have.

Sunday: Crustless Quiche with ham and cheese plus farmer's market veggies, tomato and cucumber salad and fruit.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Menu Plan for the week of Aug 2, 2010

I have not posted our menu in many months, but this week, I've had the time to plan a menu and the time to post it. I like posting it because then I feel some accountability and am more likely to stick to it and not rely on deli chickens or take out.

I have been so tired this pregnancy, that it has been difficult to cook, much less plan for meals. In fact, many time in the last months, I've wondered how women through the centuries have survived having to prepare everything from scratch while exhausted and extremely nauseated in pregnancy. There were a few weeks when I could not even walk through the kitchen without retching. The family had a lot of chicken nuggets and deli chickens those weeks.

We are eating as locally as possible so I mark the local items in bold.

Breakfasts (with repeats):

Granola (homemade in the crock pot using local honey and pecans)
Yogurt (homemade and flavored with maple syrup or honey)
Waffles (made with local eggs)
Baked Oatmeal (made with local eggs)


Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Muffalettos on homemade bread with cut up fruit
Bake Potatoes with butter and cheese
Leftovers from Dinner


Carrots and dip
Herb Cheese and crackers
Chips and Salsa (homemade with local ingredients)
Gingerbread (a favorite of our nephew who is visiting for the week)
smoothies (peaches, blueberries, strawberries)


Monday - we had roasted chicken with a green salad (cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes)

Tuesday - Homemade Pizza (some of the veggie toppings are local - banana peppers, for one) with sliced cucumbers and cantalope.

Wednesday - grass-fed beef burgers with steamed broccoli, fruit and sweet corn (in the freezer - our neighbor grew it and gave it to us).

Thursday - Leftovers

Friday - Roasted Chicken, black beans and brown rice and caramelized mixed veggies (most of the veggies are local - zucchini, yellow squash, red peppers, onions)

Saturday - Soup made from the leftover chicken - probably white bean chicken chili,but the final soup will depend on what we have a lot of and what we find at the farmer's market. We will have it with cornbread (probably) and anything fresh I can find a the market.

Sunday - Probably leftovers to clean out the fridge.


I have not preserved much so far this week since there were only 2 vendors at the market yesterday and they mostly had what I already have preserved in abundance. I have frozen more zucchini and am drying blueberries and peppers. Hopefully, there will be more tomatoes at the market as I'd like to can more sauce and salsa and maybe dry some, too. I am also eager to find the first figs of the season - hopefully this week.