Category: Local Food

This is the Only Moment


Can you guess what Albus is eating? Yes, it’s what’s marked on the freezer bag: frozen red peppers. He and Apple-Apple ate half the bag after supper last night. Local Red Pepper Popsicles.
Kevin has the flu. He’s utterly out of commission, and I’m worried about him. I’ve been trying to remember when life got so hard. It feels like we’ve been running a non-stop marathon, but where was the start line? Months ago, years ago. Last night when Fooey was having a nightmare, and it was 10pm and I’d been on my feet and working all day and just wanted to fall into bed myself, I held her and these words came into my head: “This is the only moment. This one here.” It gave me incredible peace and strength to think those words. I felt unexpectedly capable: of being present, and of giving what needed to be given, right then.
CJ and I came upon a car/pedestrian accident yesterday. We’d been playing in our front yard, enjoying the sunshine, when I noticed a disturbance at the intersection very near our house, so we walked down to see what was happening. It had just happened, though three people had already gone to the woman, and were comforting her. There was nothing I could do; someone in a car had already called 911. It shook me. Life’s randomness, unpredictability, sadness. We cannot protect ourselves from it.
But my nature is optimistic, hopeful. I believe that attitude matters, that how I react to situations matters, that I have it in me to be … calm, present, patient, whole. That’s why I wanted to hang laundry today. It seemed medicinal. Being outside is medicinal. Sunshine is. This is the only moment.

Domesticity

Gifts of food …

Two meals from one veggie lasagne.

Chili with cornbread muffins and steamed greens. Enough for leftovers, my lunch today.

Beef stew.

Pizza dough made from a Chickadee magazine recipe, using tomato sauce canned with neighbours last fall.

Banana muffins, finally made after days of planning to bake, with friends over to play and to eat the results.

Confession …

The drier. The drier. The drier! After months of hanging laundry indoors, and despite the fresh spring breeze and welcome sunshine, I have been using our drier. Something had to give on the domestic front, and that is apparently my weakest point.

First Tooth


He’s sprouted his first tooth! Given our other children’s record with cavities, we decided to waste no time. The bristles probably felt good on those gums. Fooey is this evening’s photographer.
In other news, Kevin’s acquired a cane. Next, he’s getting a top hat and tap shoes and a monocle.
Sorry. My brain is getting mushy from prolonged sleep deprivation. Today I lost the car keys three times in the span of five minutes, just by putting them down different places while thinking about something else. I had to use a spare set to pick the kids up from school. But we were delivered a supper which I’m going to stretch into two: veggie lasagne. With garlic buns tonight. How about with salad and bread tomorrow night? Thanks, neighbour chefs, small and tall.
The viral thing that’s plagued our two youngest seems to be abating. And CJ has officially learned how to fall off to sleep all by himself. This is an unexpected side effect of the broken knee: we no longer had time to rock, sing, walk, or otherwise coddle the lad off to sleep; turns out he didn’t need all that fussing around anyway.

Brought to you by the letter “P”

Emergency cup of hot tea. Quiet time. Blessed quiet time.

There may have been a time when food did not occupy the better part of my day, but that was when I was singular rather than plural. I still startle when hearing us referred to as a “family of six,” but that is what we are, and families of six eat lots, and have multiple preferences and dislikes and needs. I need tofu fried with mushrooms, for example. (Okay, need may be too strong a word, but sometimes it feels that way). Several of us require muffins or other lunch-box-friendly items. One of us has no teeth, another loathes potatoes in any form but mashed. Et cetera, et cetera. I also cook almost everything from scratch, and work in principle around a local food diet. So it turns out that designing a daily/weekly/monthly menu based on these variables requires at least one member of the family to be pondering and planning virtually non-stop. Even in the middle of the night. I exaggerate, but only slightly.

On Sunday, we were unexpectedly and generously gifted a pile of organic, purple carrots, which instantly became this week’s local food theme. This morning, whilst grating several pounds thereof toward turning them into almost-assuredly-delicious soups and casseroles, I questioned my philosophical rejection of The Food Processor. Which is dimly related to another appliance rejected on philosophical grounds: The Microwave. Oh, and also: The Dishwasher. I’ve also nearly, but not quite, rid us of our reliance on: The Drier. I claim no moral highground for any of these rejections, but do claim these purple-stained palms.

Part of all this meal planning has to do with a simple goal: I enjoy getting out, on my own, on occasion. And sometimes more than just on occasion. So a walk with a friend after supper becomes a goal toward which an entire day is aimed with precision (not to say that the rest of the day doesn’t offer many pleasures and interludes, just that this goal would never be achieved were it not for all the thinking about … food!). Yes. Food. The hour between arrival home from school and suppertime is the most critical of the day. In that hour, I prepare tomorrow’s lunches, and supper. Usually while nursing, supervising homework and playdates, feeding starving children snacks (and myself, too; that sneakily devoured piece of bitter chocolate), listening to the radio, and generally putting every last scrap of multi-tasking talent to the test. The success of that hour is brought to you by the letter P. Prepwork. Planning.

Trying to think of more p-words. No not that one, thank you Albus. No, not that one either. Please.

This happy cup of tea and blog-session has preceded my least favourite hour of the week, upon which I shall now embark with improved spirits and renewed optimism: the hour during which I entertain an eleven-month-old freshly woken from his nap in an empty hallway outside his sister’s music class. Happy Tuesday!

Local Food Rounder-Upper

A new discovery: soup on Wednesdays, with fresh bread and cheese, has been a big hit these past couple of weeks. Wednesdays we need a fast meal, on the table by 5pm, in order to get the big kids to their music class after supper. Cream of cauliflower, made with frozen veggies, last week; black bean and hamburger, the one before. This week I’m planning to try a grain & bean recipe that sounds easy, nutritious, and will make use of some frozen beans.

This week theme is: Dig in the Freezer. Honestly, frozen apricots? Suggestions? I froze a couple of bags last summer, lovely and organic, and have no idea what to do with them now.

Yesterday it was a big red sauce from the freezer tomatoes, with basil shrimp (both basil and shrimp from the freezer), over pasta. The leftover tomato sauce will be sent back to the freezer, in easy-to-use format. Always handy to have tomato sauce prepared and ready to heat and serve.

Tonight, it’s turkey sausage with chickpeas (both from the freezer), and cabbage. I’m winging the recipe with flavours leaning toward curry. Over rice. Wednesday, soup, as mentioned above. Thursday will be baked potatoes with leftovers on the side. Friday, I’m boiling up a big frozen chicken for broth and stock and meat. I’ll make some of it into a comforting illness-fighting noodle soup.

This week, thus far, has felt a bit scrabbling-about-ish … I have to remind myself to focus and remember to set priorities and stick with them, to keep the planning very basic and simple. Can I continue to blame the weather? I have felt overwhelmed at moments this week, incapable of figuring out what needs to be done most urgently. Partly, it’s due to Kevin working this past weekend. That removes my day of cleaning and organizing, otherwise known as Saturday, and it means the floor is still covered, in parts, in last week’s crumbs, and last week’s scattering of toys hasn’t been gathered and sorted and returned to order. I really like when all the toys are in the baskets and drawers and containers to which they belong: craft items in the craft cupboard; doll clothes in the orange bin the girls’ room; books on shelves; baby blocks and puzzles in the baby blocks and puzzles bin (okay, honestly, I’m the only person in the whole house to whom this really seems to matter, so it is a losing battle, but nevertheless one I intend to keep on fighting).

Priority at this exact moment: wake baby from nap, change diaper, load handful of children and off to music class. Like, now.

Saturdayness

Update on the intention to make cupboard-items from scratch, such as: crackers. Made them for book club and they were a) labour intensive, b) set off our smoke alarm at 10pm, and, most egregiously, c) tasted ordinary. Homemade food generally tastes superior, so much so that preparing and eating homemade meals from scratch essentially ruin the ability to eat and enjoy a prepackaged, grocery store frozen, or fast food meal ever again. Sadly, these crackers inspired one to reach for a box of factory-fresh.

Will I try again? The other cracker issue was that every recipe I read made use of a vastly different method; and none sounded easy. Strike one on the pantry plan.

Fooey has been riding her bicycle everywhere, despite frigid temperatures. We had a thaw that cleared the sidewalks. I’ve perfected the technique of pulling the bicycle over the bumps while pushing the stroller. This reminded me fondly of the days when Fooey was the baby in the stroller, and I’d use it to push Apple-Apple on her tricycle, and could still pull Albus’s bicycle behind.

Okay, time to start cooking for tonight’s Valentine’s potluck at a friend’s house: potato, sauerkraut, and sausage bake. All local. May throw in some yams, too. The house is temporarily peaceful, as Kevin has taken the three larger children out on their bicycles, and CJ is napping. Must get scrubbing and paring whilst the quiet holds.

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