Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Lunch Box Thing.

We pack a lunch for our 2 1/2 year old four times a week. Inspired by sites like Wendolonia, I've been challenging myself to build interesting, healthy lunch menus that will keep him interested in trying new things and please him with familiar favorites.

I share photos and details of his lunches regularly (though not every day) over on the Snackreligious Tumblr feed. Check it out!

Week 14Week 10Week 11toddler lunch


Toddler lunch

toddler lunch with pumpkin mac

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Adventures in CSA 2013: Week 11 - Behind the Music

Week 11

If I only posted the contents of our CSA share each week, you'd get an idea of what we receive from our farm. When I also post about most of what we make and eat each week, you start to get the bigger picture of what sort of value this represents in our lives. Because I'm willing to admit to you there are items that go to waste, we can further evaluate the pros and cons of getting an unknown quantity of mystery produce every week.

This week, almost halfway through our season, I wanted to mention another factor in our CSA consumption -- we don't always use everything in a share during the week it is received. I have tried to address this in past years' CSA coverage, and accounting for "carryover" produce becomes a bit of an issue (as I try to keep straight what's in the fridge from which week). I promised myself I wouldn't stress out over that detail this year, as I'd rather provide you with some coverage, rather than get overwhelmed and stop posting altogether because I can't do it with perfect accuracy.

But I did think that this point in the season might be a good time to fill you in on what we actually have in the house at the start of Week 11. Things start to get lost and go to waste at a faster rate around now, as the share size peaks, so this is also a good exercise for me -- so that I see what I still have to use up.

I'm not just listing the items from this week's pickup below, but all of the CSA produce currently in the house. This will include "pantry staples" that last well (onions, garlic), as well as some items that I discover need to be tossed.

CSA Produce in our House as of Week 11
1 yellow plum
5 doughnut peaches
5 round peaches -- one of these needs to be eaten immediately, as it has a large brown spot. I'll get right on that.
3 onions
3 heads of garlic (raw)
half a head of garlic (roasted)
1/2 pint blackberries
3 lbs tomatoes
1 bunch arugula
2 lbs zucchini and yellow squash
1 jar tomato puree (from our winter CSA), newly opened
9 carrots (5 small ones are old and jiggly, so I tossed them in the trash)
1 bunch basil
1 bunch kale
about a cup of butternut squash puree (from our winter CSA), thawed yesterday
1 floppy cucumber (tossed it)
6 ears of corn
two 12-oz bags of collard greens (from our winter CSA, frozen)
12-oz bag green beans (from our winter CSA, frozen)
12-oz bag kale (from our winter CSA, frozen)
12-oz bag sweet peppers (from our winter CSA, frozen)
About 8 oz. corn kernels (from our winter CSA, frozen but open) -- I often include this in toddler lunches. I put it in the lunchbox frozen, the lunchbox is stored in the fridge at school, and it's thawed by lunchtime.

See? I totally didn't realize there were more carrots and a lone cucumber in there. If I'd done this last week, they might not have gone to waste. I'll have to remember to take inventory more often. Also, I should use some of the greens in the freezer before our frozen salmon share shows up! I'm going to need some of that freezer space.

How is your CSA experience going this year? Are you overwhelmed? Underwhelmed? Do you wish you'd gotten a bigger or smaller share? Do you regret not getting fruit? What item do you hope you're getting more of soon? Personally, I'm pulling for more zucchini and eggplant.

Adventures in CSA 2013: Week 10 Recipes

Week 10

I was very near quitting this "blogging about vegetables" folly altogether when I realized I was a month behind in CSA posts. Looking back, I can't quite distinguish one week from the next. Around mid-summer, the vegetables start to blur together a bit, and my phone gets overrun with photos that all look like salads or sauteed vegetables covered in cheese. "Is that eggplant?" I found myself asking Dan about one picture from his phone. "No, I think it's mushroom," he replied. Exhausting!

But I'm soldiering on in the interest of at least suggesting what we might have eaten, and I'm nearly caught up. Let's take a fuzzy look back at last week, and then never speak of this debacle ever again.

Week 10 Veggies
Sugar baby watermelon - they said to eat it "immediately," as it was overripe, and I thought they were kidding. I waited two days, and it was already mushy and tasting "off" when we sliced into it. Rats.
Cantaloupe
Tomatoes
Cucumbers
Garlic
Purple Basil
Sweet peppers
Sweet corn

Fruit share:
Peaches (2 kinds)
Plums

Week 10

Cucumber salad - with champagne vinegar, tomato and week nine's basil (?)

Week 10

Raw stuff - I include this photo as an example of how we've been using the raw fruits and veggies in our 2+ year old's playschool lunchbox. He will usually eat carrots with hummus. Cucumbers are a bit iffier a proposition. Halved (and pitted) plums are generally a good bet. Corn is a favorite, too.

Week ?

Yogurt, granola, coconut flakes, and peaches - Breakfast.

Week ?
Sweet pepper and mushroom quesadillas - Also featuring: onions, tomatoes, and green basil.

Speaking of basil, isn't the purple basil gorgeous?
Week 10

This brings us mostly up to date, except I'm pretty sure I'm forgetting several somethings. I'll go through Dan's phone, and if I find any rogue photos of CSA dishes, I'll be sure to add them to (my best guess of) the appropriate week. Here's to more recipe information in week 11!

Adventures in CSA 2013: Week 9 Recipes

Week 9

I'm still playing catch-up, in terms of logging my CSA share usage. Week nine was two weeks ago. I may be missing some details as I report on this week's dishes, but I'll do my best.

Week 9 Produce
Lettuce
Carrots
Cantaloupe
Cucumber
Tomatoes
Sweet corn
Kale
Garlic
Thai Basil

In the fruit share:
White plums
Blackberries
Orchard blossom honey - we haven't tried this yet. I'm too into my raw honey to switch. I'll get to it eventually.

Week 9
Omelet with tomatoes and other stuff  - I am not very enthusiastic about omelets. I like eggs, yes, and the egg share from the CSA (we get a dozen every other week) has absolutely been worth the money. Give me a scramble any time, as long as it's fluffy. I just don't think I've ever craved my eggs cooked all flat and folded-over. That said, this was a perfectly respectable omelet (looks like turkey burger and feta made an appearance) and I hate that I seem to have damned it with faint praise. Poor omelet.
Week 9 Week 8
Turkey Burger - We did not make the turkey burger patties this time. "But we always make the turkey burgers ourselves," my inner critic cries! What is UP with us? The toppings (onion, pickled cucumber, lettuce) were all CSA produce. The cheese, meat, and bun came from the store. Still so nice (as was the evening in our neighbors' backyard), we had to photograph it twice.

It pleased our shortest patron:
Week 9 Week 9
p.s. He also likes blueberries.
Week 9

Week 9

Thai basil chicken and rice - lettuce wrap optional - This was an idea we got from Cooking Light, but Dan refused to follow the recipe. He just struck out on his own, like some kind of renegade. It was delicious.

Week 9

Corn and tomato salad - This was modeled on Elote, so it contained mayonnaise, queso blanco, and cumin.

Week 9

Kale Salad - yes.

Tomato with basil and some fancy salt we had lying around - naturally.

Adventures in CSA 2013: Week 8 Recipes

Week 8

Things are getting hazy! I am 4 weeks behind in these CSA wrap-ups. Please assume I have a very good excuse. I am going to have to rely heavily on photo evidence for a few updates, until I get caught up.

Week 8 Vegetables
1 head lettuce
1 bunch beets -- Okay, I remember these beets. I forgot to use them, they shriveled up, and I had to throw them away.
4 onions
1 bunch arugula
2 heads garlic
1 cantaloupe
7 ears corn
3 tomatoes

Fruit
apricots
blueberries
plumpricots/pluots.

Week 8

Cucumber and Tomato Sandwich - I'm pretty sure these are Week 7 cucumbers, added to Week 8 tomatoes. As previously hypothesized, I think we sort of accidentally combined Week 7 and Week 8 into one mega-share.

Week 8

Week 8

Almost Certainly a Salad - lettuce, arugula, queso blanco, avocado, onion...

Week 8

Week 8

Week 8

Pizza Party pizzas - We invited a few toddler-and-older friends over for a homemade pizza dinner one evening. CSA roasted garlic and onions (caramelized) were among the toppings available. I am perfectly capable of making pizza dough, but I like to save time by purchasing it at the local pizza parlor. Their dough makes for a really tasty crust that puffs up perfectly in a 400F oven -- and it's inexpensive.
Not shown: The 5-year old could not get enough of the CSA cantaloupe.

Week 8

Tacos - tomato, onion, beans, avocado, queso blanco (again).

Week 8

Eggplant Salad? - I really can't see beneath the cheese, and this was a month ago now. I THINK this is week 7's eggplant with some basil and other stuff.  It was probably good.

Update: Dan thinks this is mushrooms and peppers, which we clearly ate with sausages.

Did we not use the corn? I do not recall throwing away any corn. Let's see if it appears in Week 9, and thank you for your patience.

Adventures in CSA 2013: Week 7 Recipes

Week 7

Week 7 Produce
Carrots
Eggplant
Lettuce
Basil
Cucumber
Fresh sweet onions
Green cabbage
Blueberries
Yellow Plumpricots

Week 7

Oh, look. A salad.

This is the week that time forgot...or something. I cannot find any photos dated from this week, and none of these vegetables are particularly memorable. What did we do with that eggplant? Did all of these veggies just sit in the fridge until week 8?

I think we also ate some carrot sticks. And the onions keep practically forever, so there's no rush on them.

We definitely ate the fruit as-is. Is that cabbage still in there somewhere? Dear, dear.

This is what happens when I fall behind a week.*

Note: we never make it through all the basil. I suppose we should be making and freezing pesto. I like pesto. I'm just not all that into it.

*I am actually currently four weeks behind.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Adventures in CSA 2013: Week 11 Share

Week 11

...And with this post, I'm all caught up on produce distribution through today. That's the easy part, though. I've still got a bunch of photos and a few recipe ideas to share with you, as chronologically as can be arranged. Be with you shortly...

Week 11 Vegetables
1 lb. carrots
3 onions
1 bunch arugula
1 head garlic
1 cantaloupe
1 small bunch kale
2 lbs summer squash
2 lbs tomatoes

Fruit
6 round peaches
8 doughnut peaches
1 pint blackberries

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