Week 40 Budget and Menu

Fall is on the horizon here and no matter how much kicking and whining I do about not having enough peaches or tomatoes, my time is still running out. Our farmer’s markets in central North Carolina are shifting to fall crops and some of our vendors who specialize in summer season crops have bowed out until next year. Kinda sad, but like all casual friendships, we will look forward to seeing them soon and hearing all about the new spring crops.

While I will certainly miss all my summer favorites, I am looking forward to running without 90 degrees and 110% humidity. Tom and I begin our half-marathon training in earnest this month, so our dishes will be focused on giving us the nutrients and power to add on miles to our runs.

This week’s menu is helped out by two bloggers, Amy at What Jew Wanna Eat and Jovina at Jovina Cooks Italian. Glad to have some inspiration! Both have wonderful blogs, so check them out!

Budget [$123.50]

The Produce Box (peaches, apples, sprite melon, squash/zucchini, bell peppers, cucumber, local butter!, organic cornmeal, lettuce, organic cherry tomatoes, organic okra): $51.00
Locals Seafood (flounder): $14.00
La Farm Bakery (bread): $4.50 Various farm vendors (onions, kale): $3.00 Trader Joes (yogurt, beans, organic canned pumpkin, frozen fruit): $28.00 The Cultured Cow (cheddar, gouda): $14.00
Mitchell Family Pantry (tomato soup, jam, frozen corn): $9.00

Menu

Wednesday–Egg salad sandwiches, fruit salad
Thursday–Cornmeal dusted flounder, okra “fries”, squash
Friday–Pasta con sarde, green salad
SaturdayCheesy Pumpkin Quinoa Stuffed Peppers, green salad
Sunday–Pumpkin chili with zucchini cornbread
Monday–Grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup
Tuesday–Leftover chili and cornbread

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Week 23 Budget and Menu

We have had a wonderful spring and early summer so far. The constant rains have tapered off and now we actually have some sun and warm weather. The farmer’s markets are filling up again with all kinds of delicious fruits and vegetables–I just wish I could slow down time a bit so I could really take it all in! Our budget is back in line with our $100 or less goal at $90.20. The pulled pork is actually from last week (Mae Farm in Louisburg sells fabulous frozen, smoked pork barbecue made with their amazing pork!)–we never had a chance to defrost it, so we’re moving it on over to this week! As usual, we are “paying ourselves back” for our canned and frozen foods from last summer.

With Tom and Ellie both playing softball, and me ramping up my running (toward a 1/2 marathon, maybe?) we’ve had a lot to cheer on this spring. We are heading toward home plate now, with the last of this season’s games and tournaments, plus end-of-grade testing (hate.it) and all the special events that the end of school entails. This means dinners need to be quick, portable, nutritious and light. The “quick” and “portable” aspects are the most difficult for me, but it’s a nice challenge to have.

All you soccer/baseball/soccer moms and dads out there–what to you like to serve on game nights?

Budget [$90.20]

  • The Produce Box (organic green beans, double blueberries, sweet onions, yellow squash, zucchini, potatoes, organic beets): $26.00
  • Hillsborough Cheese Company (herbed goat cheese and goat cheese spread): $9.75
  • Mae Farm (sausages): $10.00
  • Homestead Harvest Farm (eggs): $5.00
  • Wild Onion Farm (broccoli, sugar snap peas): $3.o0
  • Trader Joes (puff pastry, shredded pepper jack, frozen fruit, soy milk, yogurt, whole wheat flour): $27.45
  • Mitchell Family Pantry (sticky fig jam, blackberry jam, raspberry jam): $9.00

Menu

  • Wednesday–Roasted vegetable, fig and goat cheese tart, salad
  • Thursday–Game day! Pulled Mae Farm pork sandwiches, fruit salad
  • Friday–Pulled pork, sweet potato and caramelized onion quesadillas
  • Saturday–Game day! Salads on the run!
  • Sunday–Mae Farm grilled sausages with blackberry ketchup, potato salad, green beans
  • Monday–Game night! Pasta salad with local roasted veggies and goat cheese
  • Tuesday–leftover pasta salad

Week 19 Budget and Menu

Our little family is unbelievably busy this spring! Between softball, Girl Scouts and homework, our evenings are chock full of activity. Rather than drive myself to distraction trying to race home and cook a big supper, we are focusing on easy, healthy meals that are also quick to prepare.

We are right at our budget of $100.00 this week. While we aren’t spending a lot more at the farmer’s markets, staples that we buy at the grocery sure have gone up! Have you noticed this as well? Yikes!

Most of our budget for week 19 went to The Produce Box. I have to say, they pulled out the stops this week. I’ve never had local, fresh bamboo shoots! They take a bit of preparation, but it will be fun to try something new. We will also have fresh snap peas and local goat cheese from Hillsborough Cheese Company. Can’t wait!!!

Speaking of excitement, SOLE Food Kitchen now has a Facebook page! Click HERE to find us on Facebook and “like” us if you want to get more SOLE Food goodness!

Budget [$100.03]

  • The Produce Box (strawberries, spring onions, spring garlic, romaine lettuce, tomato, purple and green asparagus, bamboo shoots, snap peas and herbed goat cheese): $47.50
  • Trader Joes (roast beef, chicken thighs, prosciutto, rice, frozen fruit, yogurt, soymilk): $38.53
  • Mitchell Family Pantry (jam, salsa, pickles, roasted tomato sauce): $14.00

Menu

  • Wednesday–Scrambled farm egg burritos with homemade salsa
  • Thursday–Roast beef wraps with herbed goat cheese spread, strawberry/pineapple salad
  • Friday–Grilled cheese and jam sandwiches, green salad, strawberry cobbler
  • Saturday–Chicken and vegetable stir fry with organic rice, leftover cobbler
  • Sunday–Pasta with asparagus and prosciutto in a goat cheese sauce, Linzer muffins
  • Monday–Chicken salad sandwiches, homemade pickles
  • Tuesday–Asparagus soup, salad

Have a happy and healthy week ahead!

The Quinoa Dilemma

English: Quinua (Quinoa) plants near Cachora, ...

So, I read an article lately that claimed vegans are responsible for consuming so much protein-rich quinoa that poor people in South America, who have lived on quinoa for centuries, can no longer afford to buy it. Now, I have to say that I am an avid fan of Snopes, the urban-legend busting website. This sounds like something I would read on Snopes. Hoards of American and European vegans descending like locusts and stripping fields bare of their trendy quinoa. True? Well, like most stories, apparently “yes” and “no”.

Quinoa, as a trendy food item, has increased in popularity and (as a result) in price as well. But that money is going somewhere, right? And some of it must be going to farmers (or at least, it should be). So what’s up? As it turns out, in our global economy, things are often more complex and nuanced than they seem in a screaming headline.

Ben Alford, a blogger with Earth Eats, dissects the issue a bit more and reveals that while there are some truths to the negative impact of quinoa’s popularity, the issue is more complicated. You can read his article HERE.

It goes to show that when we talk about sustainable and ethically sourced food, we need to look at a larger, global picture. How is our food grown, how are the workers compensated and how does increased demand for a trendy product affect the overall food system? If farmers are paid more for their crops, but average or poor people are priced out of the food market, is that ethical? If a healthy food has to be transported thousands of miles, is that sustainable? If we all stop eating quinoa, what happens to the farmers who depend on selling their crops? Where is the balance between carbon footprints and heath outcomes?

What does that mean for us? Well, in terms of our family, we eat very little rice and quinoa as it is, so it isn’t so much an issue for us in terms of our weekly grocery list. It does show, however, that when you expand into a global food market, the impact consumers have on economies and resources across the world and complex and often unintended.

Resolutions for A Healthier Food System

Danielle Nierenberg and Ellen Gustafson from Food Tank (the food think tank), wrote this great piece on new years resolutions for a better food system (click HERE for the article). Here is a summary, but definitely check out the full article!

  • Ways we can improve our food system in 2013:
  • Grow more food in cities
  • Create better access to sustainable food
  • Demand healthier food
  • Cook at home more
  • Share meals with others
  • Eat more vegetables
  • Waste less food
  • Involve young people in farming and cooking
  • Protect workers
  • Love your farmers
  • Recognize the role of governments
  • Shift the focus from higher yield to great quality
  • Fix the broken food system

What are your new years resolutions?

Fixing Our Food Problem

Mark Bittman

Mark Bittman (Photo credit: rebuildingdemocracy)

Mark Bittman has a terrific editorial out in the New York Times regarding a resolution for 2013 to begin fixing our food problem. The article is well-written, short and a bit inspiring. I thought I would share it with you as I find him to be one of our Sole-ful People!

You can find the entire article HERE (if the links are working–if not, I’m posting the full link below).

The more we learn about our food system, the more important it is for all of us to expect something better.

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/01/fixing-our-food-problem/?smid=tw-bittman&seid=auto

An association between tobacco and cancer was discovered more 200 years ago. The surgeon general’s report that identified smoking as a public health issue appeared in 1964. The food movement has not yet reached its 1964; there’s isn’t even a general acknowledgment of a problem in need of fixing.

Clearly, we have a long way to go, but every journey begins with a single step and the perseverance to keep moving forward!

Week 1 Budget and Menu

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Welcome to 2013! How are you feeling this morning? Energized and excited about the new year? Worried about the fiscal cliff? Hung over? I, for one, can’t figure out where last year went–it was a blur of activity, but it was a lot of fun.

If you are new to this blog, I’ll explain that each week I will post our seasonal menu and our food budget for the week (our goal is under $100). This budget includes food, but not other household goods like laundry detergent or paper towels. Along the way, I’ll also post recipes and information about what is season at the markets here in central North Carolina, new food research or food issues that come up, etc.

Ready? Here goes Week 1!

Budget [Total $69.52]

  • Coon Rock Farm (collard greens cabbage, Italian sausage): $12.00
  • Fickle Creek Farm (eggs): $4.50
  • Locals Seafood (shrimp): $10.00
  • Other farmers market (sweet potatoes, broccoli, onions): $7.00
  • Trader Joes (frozen fruit, coconut oil, olive oil, cannellini beans, Ezekiel bread, noodles): $36.02

What are we eating for $69.52? Here is our menu for Week !!

Menu

  • Tuesday–Collard greens, hoppin’ john, corn bread
  • Wednesday–Shrimp pad thai w/local shrimp, veggies and peanuts
  • Thursday–Homemade pizza night w/farmer’s market ingredients
  • Friday–Stuffed sweet potatoes and leftovers
  • Saturday–Leftover ribollita soup
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