Week 4 Budget and Menu


This week ended with a snow fake-out (so much for sledding) and sunny, cool weather that was more like spring. this next week promises to turn bitter cold–real winter? I’m going to harvest most of our tender greens this week and we will eat up as much as we can. Did you know you can cook your greens (chard, beet, turnip, mustard, etc) and freeze them? I think I’ll be trying that as well! Our collards will only get better with the below freezing temperatures–the cold brings out their sweetness, so I’m leaving them parked in the garden. Happily, our farmers market was full of activity today and we had a lot to choose from even with the cold weather! And even more happily, the market was teeming with people out buying fresh food in the cold!

Now that we actually have some winter weather coming on, I’m breaking out my Julia Child Boeuf Bourguignon recipe. It makes a ton, so we will have lots of leftovers this week. Somehow I don’t think anyone will mind!

This week’s budget reflects some stocking up. Ellie loves homemade whole wheat buttermilk pancakes and we ran out of maple syrup. I buy huge containers at Trader Joes, but they are $16.00! That’s a lot, but the syrup will last a long time. We also ran out of spices, which are not inexpensive either. But who can live without cinnamon? Not me, that’s who. Especially since I am experimenting with some crazy gingerbread oatmeal (stay tuned). So our budget ended up being $114.24 for the week, but I am confident we’ll bring it down next week. Here’s how our food expenses break out:


  • Coon Rock Farm (eggs, chicken, stew beef, carrots): $42.00
  • In Good Hands Farm (Brussel sprouts, broccoli): $6.00
  • Hillsborough Cheese Company (Lebnah Greek yogurt): $4.00
  • Melina’s Pasta (bacon and blue cheese pirogue): $9.00
  • Great Harvest Bread Company (sandwich bread, scones): $7.00
  • Trader Joes (mushrooms, organic onions, cinnamon, pepper, maple syrup, organic soy milk, cheese, sliced turkey, organic potatoes): $46.24

Here’s what we’re having this week. Should be a week full of comfort food goodness!


  • Sunday–Julia’s boeuf bourguignon with roasted potatoes
  • Monday–roasted chicken thighs with honey glazed carrots and Brussels sprouts
  • Tuesday–grilled cheese sandwiches and soup
  • Wednesday–Oatmeal (girl scout night)
  • Thursday–leftover boeuf bourguignon with noodles
  • Friday–bacon and blue cheese pirogue with brown butter, Swiss chard
  • Saturday–out to dinner or leftover buffet

Football Sadness and Three Pepper Chili


Well, the Denver Broncos are finished for the season and I am sad.

It was a fun season and I enjoyed wearing my John Elway jersey every Sunday. But life goes on and I’ll have fun watching how the rest of the season progresses. I love football and I love football season food. One thing I am not sad about is the amount of fresh vegetables we froze and put up this past summer. What a wonderful gift we have given ourselves this winter! We made this chili to watch Denver’s final game using our frozen summer tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, sweet peppers and onions to make this three pepper chili. This chili is packed with protein from organic kidney and black beans as well as ground beef from Rare Earth Farm. You could also add carrots and other vegetables as well and adjust the seasonings to your own taste (I like my chili hot).

Great on a cold day, even better if your team is winning 🙂

Three Pepper Chili

  • 1 organic onion, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves of organic garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 sweet peppers, trimmed and chopped (or 1 bell pepper)
  • 2 smoked chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, chopped (or 1 can of diced tomatoes)
  • 1 lb. of ground beef (preferably local and hormone free)
  • 2 cans organic red kidney beans, undrained
  • 1 can organic black beans, undrained
  • 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp. dried chili pepper
  1. In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add chopped onions and garlic. Cook until transparent, lowering heat if garlic begins to brown (or you can remove the garlic and add it back in with the tomatoes).
  2. Add the ground beef and brown.
  3. Add the peppers and cook an additional 5-8 minutes, until vegetables are soft.
  4. Add the tomatoes, beans and dried seasonings and simmer for 30 minutes. Check for seasoning and correct if necessary.
  5. Serve with shredded pepper jack cheese or a dollop of plain Greek yogurt.


Week 2 Budget and Menu


Our lovely Swiss chard!

It took a while, but North Carolina is just now feeling some real winter weather. While I don’t love the cold, I appreciate the mosquito-killing effects of winter and in the end, every day of winter is one day closer to spring. I do love winter foods, though, and our menu this week reflects what we have in our garden, stored in our freezer and what is available at the farmer’s market. While this is hardly high season for farmers, North Carolina markets still have a nice variety of produce available. This week, Mae Farm even has fresh chicken available, so roast chicken is definitely on the menu!


Our budget this week is $75.62, which is pretty good! We are using some of the Swiss chard from our garden as well as some of the food we put up this summer!

Note: Our budget includes paying ourselves back for fruits and vegetables stored over the summer since often those bulk purchases were not included in our weekly budget.

  • Mitchell family pantry (roasted tomato sauce, blueberry jam, green beans, corn): $12.00
  • Mae Farm (roaster chicken, ground beef, pulled pork): $42.00
  • Various farmer’s market (broccoli, carrots, kale): $8.00
  • Trader Joes (pie crust, cheese, canned beans): $13.62


  • Sunday–Roast chicken, sauteed Swiss chard, summer green beans
  • Monday–Baked pasta with vegetables
  • Tuesday–Chicken pot pie, sauteed chard
  • Wednesday–Leftover pot pie
  • Thursday–Leftover pasta
  • Friday–Mae Farm pulled pork sandwiches, summer corn
  • Saturday–Homemade chili and cornbread

New Year Collards and Hoppin’ John


Happy New Year from SOLE Food Kitchen!

One of the true miracles of nature here in North Carolina is that even when there is frost on the ground (and even snow), we still have delicious and highly nutritious greens–collards, mustard, turnip, kale to sustain us. While we haven’t seen any snow yet, the greens are plentiful in our garden and at the local farmers markets, and they will be the stars of our New Years Day feast! It is customary here in the southeastern US to eat a combination of blackeye peas and rice (hoppin’ john) and greens to bring about prosperity for the new year. The field peas represent coins and the greens represent folding money for the New Year. I don’t know if it works, but I can say it is a delicious way to begin a fresh year with lots of possibilities. Add some homemade corn bread and you have a simple meal that is delicious, satisfying and reasonably healthy.

I add tomato and roasted jalapeno to my blackeye peas. While these aren’t seasonal, we have both tucked away in our freezer from our summer crop, so we can still enjoy them in the middle of winter! Still, the typical version of hoppin’ john uses a ham hock to season the beans. This is tasty, but I usually feel like we’re getting our share of pork in the greens, so we go light on the beans!

I am partial to making my greens with pork–in our case, jowl bacon–from Mae Farm in Louisburg, North Carolina (www.maefarmmeats.com). Their pasture-raised, humanely raised hogs produce some of the most amazing meat we have ever had. We’re hooked. But you can also make these as a vegan dish by replacing the bacon with olive oil and some garlic. Cooking greens is not hard–it takes time because the leaves are quite thick, but the investment of time is well worth it in the end!

Southern Collard Greens (serves 4-6)

  • 1 large bunch collard greens
  • 4-6 thick slices smoked bacon or side meat
  • 4-6 cups water
  1. Begin the process by washing your greens. Unless you bought them from the grocery in a pre-washed bag, they need to be cleaned or you will be eating grit along with your greens (this is not good eating). Fill a clean sink with cold water and soak the greens in the water, swishing them around a bit. Remove greens from the cold bath and drain the water. Do this two more times or until you see no sand in the sink.
  2. On a cutting board, fold each leaf in half and cut the thick stem out. Save stems for compost. Stack the collard leaves as you go until you have stemmed all the leaves.
  3. Take 2-3 leaves at a time and roll them into a thick roll. Cut the roll into thin strips (this will leave you with ribbons of greens). Set greens aside.
  4. Heat a large stock pot over medium heat. Cut bacon into chunks and add to the pot. Cook until most of the fat has been rendered from the pork (about 10 minutes).
  5. Add greens to the pot and toss to coat with the bacon fat. Add 2 cups of water. Cover pot and simmer, stirring often, for about an hour.
  6. After an hour, check the greens and the water, adding more if needed. Do not let the greens scorch. Continue simmering for at least another hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so.
  7. Greens are ready when they are tender and well seasoned with the pork.
  8. Serve with vinegar and hot sauce, if you like.

Hoppin’ John (serves 6-8)

  • 16 oz dried blackeye peas
  • 4 c. water or homemade chicken stock
  • 2 cups cooked, organic rice
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  1. Put peas in a large pot with water to cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 1 minute. Cover and remove from heat. Let pot sit for 1 hour. Drain peas.
  2. Add peas and 4 c. water or chicken stock to the pot and return to medium heat. Add ham hock or other pork product at this time. Simmer peas for about an hour. Watch to make sure liquid does not dry out. If it does, add more water or stock as needed.
  3. Add tomato and pepper and continue simmering for about 30 minutes more. Let most of the liquid evaporate. This should be the consistency of a thick chili, not a soup.
  4. Add rice, stir and serve.






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