Sunday, September 25, 2011

Week 26 - Half of Something Else

It's really quite hard to believe that I've been at this for half a year (or, just a little over...).  I've had a sick child for two weeks, two weeks that coincide with perhaps the busiest weeks of my life and less than perfect attention to what's been getting onto his plate.  Although most of my own chaos stemmed from volunteer efforts to build a garden so other little kids at his school can benefit from what we already do in our home and in our lives, there was a part of me that wondered if he continued to be sick because he wasn't getting the healthily-prepared, vegetable-heavy meals that had become the norm over the past six months.  I can't buy back those two weeks, but I am grateful that most of the heavy lifting associated with my volunteer commitments is done.  Now, I can get back to meal planning and the great meals that we've all come to know and love.  

In the box this week
(top) lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, cilantro
(bottom) avocados, onions, tomatoes, zucchini, apples, grapes, strawberries

Meal plan for the week
Sunday: burgers with roasted peppers and Tomatoes
Monday: night off for the big garden fundraiser!

Nothing in this week's box is a hard sell.  So now, it's all about getting it done in between soccer, baseball, swimming and the like.  Here's to getting back on track this week!
This week's title is inspired by the song of the same name by The Airborne Toxic Event.

Week 25 in Review

Two weeks late!

My apologies for falling off of my own program, but it has been an insanely busy couple of weeks.  Two weekends ago, we went out of town for a family wedding and were unable to pick up our box.  From there, sadly, my Year in a Box efforts went straight downhill.  With a very busy work schedule, sick kid (with a migraine 9 out of 14 days in a row), final push to finish the school garden that I've been working on, and related garden fundraiser that I needed to finish planning, meal planning and blogging sort of went out the window.  The good news is that the garden is done, and the fundraiser is happening this week.  So, back to life, back to reality, and with that, here are a few highlights from week 25!

The Best
  • Not at all food related (or at least not yet), but I'm so excited that we were able to finish the school garden and open it to the students.  The kids were running around in it like it was a maze.  Up next: time to plant a fall garden in about two weeks!

The Good

  • I was surprised by how much I liked the Black Eyed Peas recipe!  It was sort of like a gourmet version of bean and bacon soup, a favorite from my childhood. 

The Rest
  • Perhaps if you like eggplant, you'd quite like this eggplant pasta salad recipe, but it didn't do much for me or the kids.  It wasn't quite broken down enough to be saucy, but wasn't firm enough to be a veggie-enhanced pasta.  It was just kind of mushy.

And then, there was the box that I skipped...
  • Just in case you were curious, here's the box that I didn't document at all.  We used quite a bit of it, just not in any sort of organized fashion.
 (top) lettuce, yellow beans, sorrel, broccoli
(bottom) tomatoes, carrots, onions, red peppers, avocados, strawberries

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Week 25 - I Gotta Feeling

This week's box is presents a couple of challenges for me.  First off, I'm not sure that I've ever eaten black eyed peas, and I know that I've never prepared any thing that contained them.  I'm also not the biggest fan of eggplant, though the two eggplants that are in our box this week are the most beautiful that I've ever seen.  Still down an oven, there are a lot of recipes that aren't options for me this week until it gets repaired.  That said, I'm willing to give it a go with these challenging ingredients.  I gotta feeling it will work out all right.

In the box this week
(top) lettuce, black eyed peas, avocados, basil
(bottom) cantaloupe, onions, eggplant, tomatoes, yellow grape tomatoes, apples, oranges

Meal plan for the week
Monday: Eggplant pasta salad (for a neighborhood block party)
Wednesday: Avocado-Orange salad with Romaine, bean & cheese burritos
Thursday: Evening out... taking a night off!

It's fun to watch the box start its transition into the fall: apples in particular are very exciting to see!  With every 'new' ingredient comes new opportunities to experiment both in the kitchen, and at the table, and that is what this process and blog is all about.  Curious to see what our favorites will be for this week!
This week's title is inspired by the song of the same name by The Black Eyed Peas... I know, totally cheesy!

Week 24 in Review

The Score
Eaters - 9.5    Compost - 1     Carry Over - 0.5

Back to school week in combination with birthday week was pretty crazy around this place.  Though I didn't do a good job of getting photos of most of what we ate this week, we did a fair amount of cooking and had a lot of fun as a family!  As our twins get older, it is fun to bring them more and more into the process of making the food, as opposed to just being consumers of the end product.  With that in mind, I documented our afternoon spent making their birthday dinner.  They were SO happy with the end result, and were really excited that they helped make the meal.  I see many more "family" dinners like this in our future!  Note: as you will see our twins are fraternal, but the fact that they are wearing the same t-shirt is HIGHLY unusual (they were trying to be supportive of Dad's favorite team, which sadly opened their season with a loss that day).

The Best
The well method of pasta making

Knead, knead, knead

Making rigatoni

Drying out the pasta for a few minutes

Meanwhile, carefully chopping up lots of CSA tomatoes for the sauce

Favorite sweet tomato sauce: saute 1 carrot, 1 stalk celery, 2 cloves garlic and 1 small onion (all diced) in a few Tbs olive oil for about 10 minutes; fill the pan with lots of tomatoes (whatever is fresh); after about 10 minutes the tomatoes will have broken down and sauce will start to thicken; add 8-10 leaves fresh basil, and salt and pepper to taste; run through food mill with coarse blade

Toss cooked pasta with sauce and Dad's homemade meatballs

Eat as is, or with fresh basil pesto, depending on your birthday preference

Open presents and show your best goofy face!

The Good
  • With all of the tomatoes we had this week - as well as the best avocados that we've ever eaten - we ended up having a wonderful Mexican feast of fajitas, with fresh guacamole, pico de gallo, charred tomato salsa, and (for the grown-ups only) orange margaritas!
  • Did I mention that our oven broke last week?  Just added to the fun.  I had to do the Kale, onion and potato frittata recipe on the stove top, which didn't fully work but tasted alright.  We also weren't able to follow the correct instructions for the the roasted Green Bean, potato and Radicchio salad.  Instead, my husband roasted the beans and potatoes on the grill, which tremendously added to the flavors!  Though I didn't get a photo, it was a delicious and quite beautiful salad.