Week 43 Budget and Menu

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Our weather has been perfect for mushrooms! The markets are full of fresh Shitake mushrooms this week!

October! October is here!!! It’s still in 80’s here in North Carolina, so we’re not exactly feelin’ the fall weather, but all the same, we know fall is approaching. Leaves are starting to turn, the often oppressive humidity is gone and mosquitoes are fewer in number. Every region has their own seasonal benchmarks. You may have fall hayrides, we have a decline in blood-sucking mosquitoes.

I’d love to have nothing but chili, stew and baked pasta this week, but it’s too warm for such cozy fare. Instead, we are focusing on lighter foods that still feature our seasonal fruits and vegetables. I am especially excited that I found fresh, organic Shitake mushrooms at our downtown farmer’s market! Apparently, our fall weather has been perfect for them!

I also had great success with making my own refried beans this week! It was very easy, and I used some heirloom beans leftover from making chili, so it was a good use of extra food. I made the refried beans  on the bland side so I can add whatever spices I want later. We’re using them on bean tostatas later this week along with some leftover tortillas and cheese. We also have extra corn and leftover crab meat (now frozen) from a few weeks ago and that will make a lovely corn and crab chowder. Don’t you love it when leftover foods come together in something that approximates a meal?

Our budget this week is definitely helped by Tom’s fishing success and a weekly coupon from Locals Seafood. Every little bit helps, especially when the cost of food keeps rising.

Breakfasts this week include Ezekiel bread, muffins, and probably some whole wheat buttermilk pancakes. We are using our homemade jam, which is wonderful and we will get another jar of local honey in this week’s Produce Box!

I hope you are taking advantage of some wonderful fall produce in your area (or spring if you are in the southern hemisphere!). Have a happy and healthy week!

Budget [$109.51]

  • The Produce Box (acorn squash, honey, sweet onions, lettuce, apples, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow squash, green beans, mixed sweet peppers): $48.00
  • Locals Seafood (shrimp): $10.00
  • Hilltop Farm Organics (Shitake mushrooms): $4.30
  • Mitchell Family Pantry (jam): $3.00
  • Hillsborough Cheese Company (goat cheese): $6.00
  • Trader Joes (pasta, organic rice, organic chicken, frozen fruit, almond milk, almonds): $38.21

Menu for Week 42

  • Wednesday–Roasted red pepper, mushroom and shrimp pasta, salad
  • Thursday–Leftovers (we have some left from last week!)
  • Friday–Game night–Refried bean, mushroom and cheese tostatas
  • Saturday–Corn and crab chowder
  • Sunday–Roast chicken, acorn squash with honey and sage, green beans
  • Monday–Game night–Chicken and vegetable quesadillas
  • Tuesday–Roasted whole fish, squash and zucchini saute

Week 13 Budget and Menu

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As we cruise on into the Holy Week of Easter and March Madness, we are hoping for spring weather, but all we see is leftover winter. And you know how leftovers are, right? At first, they seem like yummy gifts, then they seem more like an obligation and finally you start to resent their very presence in your refrigerator. I’m like that with the weather right now. In August, I’ll be complaining about the heat, but right now, the cold weather just seems wrong. I want to grill something while I’m watching my bracket helplessly implode, not huddle around a pot of stew. And Miami? It’s all riding on you. No pressure or anything, but mama needs a new cast iron Dutch oven. Let’s get it right, people. Ok? Ok.

Moving on back to food, our farmer’s markets are still offering the usual late winter variety of root vegetables, greens and potatoes. There isn’t a whole lot of excitement right now in regards to veggies, although from the photo above, you can tell that our farmers are trying to maintain enthusiasm!

In a few weeks, I’ll begin my “What’s Fresh at the Market” postings, but at this point, it’s all the same list. Our menu this week is still making the most of what we have in our garden and pantry, but I’m trying to change things up a bit so we don’t get bored. We’ve got some solid standby’s with fish tacos and shrimp pad Thai, as well as some new recipes with the Brussels sprout salad and sweet potato/chipotle pepper soup. It should be a tasty week!

As for our budget, we are definitely over. We’re having another week of seafood from our NC waters, but it did up our budget (plus we added more dried fruit to make energy bars). On the bright side, I found raw cashews at Trader Joes for $6.99 a pound–half of what Whole Foods charges!!! More raw double fudge in our future!

Budget [$111.93]

  • Mae Farm (bacon): $7.00
  • Locals Seafood (fish, shrimp): $18.00
  • Various farmer’s market vendors (onions, new crop pecans, Brussels sprouts, sweet potato): $14.00
  • Rare Earth Farm (buttermilk, eggs): $9.00

  • Trader Joes (blue cheese, chipotle peppers, portabello mushrooms, Asian noodles, scallions, frozen fruit, yogurt, soy milk): $55.93
  • Whole Foods (heirloom beans, dates): $8.00

Menu

  • Sunday–Roasted Brussels sprouts salad with bacon, blue cheese and pecans, deviled farm eggs
  • Monday–Fish tacos with sweet potato/chipotle pepper soup
  • Tuesday–Heirloom beans with bacon and caramelized onions
  • Wednesday–Girl Scouts; leftover beans and rice
  • Thursday–Heather’s easy shrimp pad Thai
  • Friday–Pan seared whiting with tomatoes and sauteed greens
  • Saturday–Portabello and seared steak “pizzas” with leftover blue cheese
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