Category: Local Food

Local Food Round-Up

Is there a plan? Here’s an amusing detail about this past week’s local food plan: the best meal of the week was the one I threw together on the fly, zero advance plotting. Ugh. Or fab. Except that such results do not inspire continued Planning.

Nevertheless, despite, because, as if, et cetera …
I’m planning to cook a pot of black beans for one main meal this week. In the fridge, I still have a few red beans from the chili meal, so for a second meal this week, I’ll toss those together and make a two-bean soup, or another chili. Meal number three may involve yet more of those beans (I always make lots), and some red sauce I froze from Friday’s successful meal–spiced up with cumin and coriander and baked in layers with tortillas and cheese. I’m also glad to have a winter squash to pop in the oven for colour and variety, and some cabbage to chop into a salad.
So the theme appears to be, by default: beans. I’m off meat at present, so I’ll stick with some local hamburger as an add-in, if desired.
Have to add as a note that I originally typed: “I’m planning to cook a plot of black beans …” Sounds like a spicy short story set in the tropics. I was going to riff on that theme for a few glorious moments of fantasy here, but have been advanced upon by a weary husband holding a newly bathed and howling baby who looks darned adorable in his ducky towel and, though said babe is pre-verbal, he seems to be calling my name rather effectively.
Well, then …. Shabaddy-woo (as I like to say, heaven knows why, to my baby).

Local Food Round-Up: Suggestions Welcome

Hmm. Haven’t been keeping up with the local food round-up plan. I’ve been doing it in my head, just not getting to here, lately. I’m blaming my dwindling determination and lack of follow-through on winter. Honestly, it’s minus 19 out there today. The chill is seeping through the walls. My fantasies about spring are growing more vivid by the hour.

My local food theme of the week is: Suggestions Welcome. We kicked off this theme on Super Bowl Sunday, when Kevin requested chili. I served it with cornbread on Sunday, then reheated it for Monday with rice. Tuesday I took a friend’s Facebook suggestion and made the garlic-heavy Ethiopian Lentil Bowl from Simply in Season, with homemade naan bread; this required frying it up with CJ in a backpack to keep him out of harm’s way. Last night it was leftover surprise, plus fried potatoes. Should have taken suggestions, because no one liked it (except, maybe, me). Complaints Welcome became the unintentional theme. Tonight I’m planning to roast a nicely-thawed chicken, as suggested by Kevin, with root veggies.

Okay, Fooey is screaming “Read me a book, Mom!” over and over again from the couch, and CJ is dozily destroying a cookie, and I need to snap out of the computer zone. Snap!

The Flu

This Blog has the flu. Even though it got its flu shot. Apparently, the strain making the rounds wasn’t included in the mix. Don’t worry about me, however. I am fine. Touch wood and send skyward a hearty prayer.

My children, on the other hand; sigh. One has very nearly recovered the pink of health, and the other, suffering pallidly, is clad in green pajamas, a fuzzy hat with earflaps, and a giant blue blanket. Those affected are school-aged; the other two have thus far escaped. (Touch wood; pray). This morning, things are looking up: the kids are playing together–all four! And I am sneakily watching … as it all falls apart. Hmm. Excuse me, dear Blog, you’ll have to fend for yourself momentarily. Drink your tea.

I’m back. The lull has returned to the living-room. Children quietly reading books and baby happily knocking books off the shelf (his favourite upright occupation).

Last night I went out to shovel snow. That was actually a mental health necessity. I’d been indoors since Sunday; though Sunday we all dragged our post-Robbie Burns selves down to the theatre and while Kevin did clean-up, I played the grand piano on stage, and the kids danced. There are photos on the blog opposite.

My local food round-up evaporated when the Blog lost its appetite. But now that the Blog is cranky and hungry for toast (sure signs of improved health), I can tell you that we’re working with a Vegetarian theme this week. Which means the food is only somewhat local. I made a nice big red sauce from the freezer tomatoes and we’ve had pasta, we’ve had baked mac & cheese, we’ve had chili. The kids have been drinking the homemade grape juice as a special treat during illness. Tonight we’re planning corn bread and honey-baked lentils. And, as our stores dwindle, I am feeling excited about Nina’s buying club starting up again in the spring. Whoo-hoo!!! And an extra whoo-hoo just for the very thought of spring!!!

Burn After Reading

This is a January primal scream of self-pity and I apologize in advance, with an extra sorry to my little son who deserves to be picked up, rather than stuck clutching my pant leg and fussing with boredom–okay, he wins. Really, where are my priorities? I’m now typing one-handed.

I’ve been outdoors twice since Saturday–once to pick the kids up from school, and once to entertain those well enough to go outside and play in the snow. Otherwise I’ve been in here, tending to children throwing up and cooking elaborate local meals from our stores (cutting up a chicken is harder than it looks; though that might have been in part because said bird hadn’t fully thawed).

But the biggest primal scream relates to a serious lack of writing time. I’ve had SIX HOURS to write since before Christmas. That’s going on a month. It’s not for lack of trying to schedule time, either; it’s circumstances conspiring against opportunity, the unforeseeables of germs, of sleep deprivation, of dental and medical appointments. Last night, Kevin had a soccer thing and then a hockey game, so I put the kids to bed alone; in the fantasy version of that scenario, I laid CJ down in the crib in our room, and stayed up late writing in the office/baby room. In the actual version of events, I laid CJ down “for the night,” and he woke screaming fifteen minutes later–though in the interim I’d carried Fooey off to a happy sleep; thank you, sweet Fooey–at which point I sat nursing a twitchy CJ for another hour, till finally, finally, he’d fallen into what approximated a deep sleep, at which point, I was glassy-eyed and hungry and resigned, and laid him to sleep in his own bed in the office/baby room.

I admire every parent who works after his or her children are asleep. No matter how hopeful my plans, by the time this blessed state arrives, four times over, my brain has ceased firing on all neurons. So instead, I went looking for a fatty cheese to spread on some crackers, then read in bed (Unaccustomed Earth, by Jhumpa Lahiri; oh read her, read her, her stories are quietly amazing; she is also the mother of two young children and said in an interview that she’d never write anything were someone else not regularly caring for them).

Okay, we get the life we choose, and I’ve chosen four children, and no nanny. For the record, I get this grim feeling every January. I’m in need of some naturally sourced vitamin D. Or some exercise-induced endorphins. Our bodies crave nutrients. But I’m starting to think–or to be reminded, more accurately–that my fingers crave these keys, and my mind craves a quiet space carved out of the day’s responsible hours.

And, no, CJ is not in my arms anymore. He jumped down and went off to chew on a few crayons, accompanied by the companionable noises of Albus, home from school for one final recuperative day, exploding imaginary ships, and Fooey munching crackers and chatting to herself.

Abbreviated Local Food Round-Up

Yup. I got sick too. So did Fooey.

So yesterday I wasn’t thinking much about meal planning for the week. Frankly, I wasn’t thinking much about food, period. But here’s my plan …
Meat item thawing in fridge: a five-pound whole chicken. I plan to cut it up, marinate it, and bake it. Serve it with baked rice and a sauce made with one of my cans of tomatoes. If it turns out well, I’ll post the recipe. Discovered when digging out the chicken that there are no roasts left in the freezer. Also, I think I’m giving up on the frozen homemade ketchup. I’m going to chuck it all. Must face reality: the kids don’t like it. Silver lining: having it around has cut down on our ketchup consumption. 
My base meal for the week is black beans and rice. Must remember to get beans soaking after this blip of a writing morning expires. I’m writing right now (no really, I am; I should get a clone or two to live out some parallel lives beside me). Kev’s home this morning. But no extra babysitting because Fooey’s sick. Maybe by Wednesday we’ll get back to some kind of regular schedule.
Question: Is there such a thing as a regular schedule?

Sleeping Babes, Three

Well, that was short-lived. CJ spent at least half the night in our bed. I’m not sure whether this was because I was too tired to move him out, or because everytime I did move him out he seemed to reappear again. I went to bed at the same time he did last night. 9:30. I’m pretty sure Apple-Apple was still awake (she has these torturous prolonged bedtimes, seemingly endless cries for water bottle or kleenex or jammies are too itchy or she’s too hot or too cold or she just can’t fall asleep.) Lucky for us all, once asleep she’s as sound as they come.

In any case, I was grouchy. Bed seemed the best option. The serenity following our holiday, which I’d optimistically planned to keep, uh, forever, has dissipated ever so fractionally amidst the hairiness of schedule, of having to be somewhere at a particular time. Mostly, it’s dragging children to events in which they have no stake that’s hardest. Fooey and CJ bundled up and tossed in the stroller to take the big kids to school. I’d complain too. CJ woken out of a nap and dragged along to Fooey’s music class, where for entertainment he has his mother, a banana, and an empty hallway. Et cetera. No matter how organized, how much time I’ve left, there comes a moment when I’m shouting, “Put on your snowpants, now!” and then regretting it instantly (Fooey hates shouting). Or worse, “We’re leaving without you!” Never true, and rarely motivating, as the kid has no interest in coming anyway. But I’ve been doing some deep breathing and back-tracking and attempting to focus on the larger picture: does it matter if we’re five minutes late for Fooey’s music class? Or for anything? I don’t want to become cavalier about responsibility, just realize that rushing accomplishes little except to put everyone in a lousy mood.

It’s interesting how my mood really affects the mood of the household.

It’s also interesting, if unrelated, that our family ate an entire loaf of homemade bread for breakfast yesterday morning–and CJ and I ate oatmeal instead. That’s slightly alarming when contemplating future appetites, and my own plans to bake all of our bread from scratch. Because I’d gone to bed early last night, I woke up early and started a fresh batch of bread. My life revolves around food.

So far, so good, in the eating out of our stores experiment. I’m planning to do a regular Sunday update and round-up on food.

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