Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Menu Planning

Well, as I have been reading various food blogs devoted to cooking and especially to traditional foods, I have realized I need to get back into menu planning. I used to menu plan regularly and it was very helpful in making sure meals weren't so stressful and it helped when planning our shopping too.

I have fallen off the wagon, so to speak, with menu planning. I think mainly because our life is so hectic and crazy it was just one more thing to do. However, I recently have realized that it is something that will actually take some of the stress out of life. It will also help me be frugal in using up what we have on hand (which is a lot, we always have a plethora of food here!!).

So here is what I have come up with. It is a general layout as opposed to a die-hard plan. I find that to be easier as it is more flexible for me. I am also involving my 9 year-old daughter as she is really into helping in the kitchen so we have given her more responsiblility.

So today is Tuesday and here was the plan:
Breakfast-- we had fried eggs (local, free-range, organic) with homemade rye bread toast with butter. It was delicious!!
Lunch-- I made egg salad (farm eggs (see above) with safflower oil mayo and seasonings) with tortilla chips. The boys had sausage (from Markowycz European Home Style Sausage Co. in Detroit, MI--the best lunch meats and sausages I have ever had) as they don' t like egg salad.
Dinner-- We are having hamburger patties made with local, organic, pastured beef (we get 1/2 a cow a year from a local farmer and it is really great meat!!) and salad and fried zucchini. We have an abundance of vegetables from the CSA we belong to and we need to use them up as we get more on Friday. I am also going to make steamed broccoli (from our CSA).

The rest of the week menu (not sure which day will be what)

Sweet Cherry Claflouti--this is like a cross between a pancake and a souffle. The kids love it and it will use up some Traverse City Cherries we got at the farmer's market on Saturday. It isn't overly sweet and has lots of eggs in it, some milk and butter and I use organic whole wheat flour (from a local mill), so it is still relatively healthy.
Soaked Oatmeal Porridge--We soak our oatmeal (organic rolled oats) in water, whey and lemon juice overnight (helps reduce the phytic acid and other enzyme inhibitors to make it more digestible) and then cook it with water, butter and a bit of celtic sea salt and some cinnamon. After it is cooked we add a drizzle of pure Michigan maple syrup (from a local family) and some fruit and nuts or a few chocolate chips.
Eggs-- We love eggs and they are a good source of protein. Sometime we have scrambled, sometimes fried, and sometimes other way.

Egg Drop Soup-- The kids love this and it is made with homemade chicken stock and yummy veggies (whatever is on hand) as well as some left over roast chicken.
Nachos-I plan to make up some taco meat with our hamburger and serve it will refried beans and various toppings on some organic corn chips.
Hot Dogs-- We get our hotdogs from the same meat place in Detroit where we get our sausage, lunch meats and bacon. Sometimes we get them from a local farmer, both are great. No fillers, no nitrates or additives and all beef. We will have these with leftover veggies

Pot Roast- This is Ben's favorite meal, so even though it is summer, I make it for him at his request. I will have lots of vegetables that cook with it. For side dishes I will make sauteed cabbage and cornbread.
Roast Chicken-- I will probably just roast it whole with some onions, potatoes and carrots under it. I will serve it with a Quinoa Bake that has lots of greens, tomato sauce and some cheese in it.
Leftovers--one night will be leftovers I am sure and with it I will probably make a new recipe I want to try to go with whatever is leftover. I want to make a braised white bean and greens dish. I have some escarole and other greens to use up from our CSA so this along with the quinoa bake should do the trick!!

Other stuff:
Kim Chi--We love Kim Chi. I may make some if we still have cabbage left from the head we got last week in the CSA box. I am sure we will get more this week, so I want to make sure to use it up. We just put our last batch of sauerkraut in jars from the crock, so we have a good supply of it. We eat Kim Chi and/or sauerkraut with most every meal as a good digestive since they are so full of probiotics.
Bread--We make all our own bread. I plan to make a loaf this week (not sure what yet) and also to feed my sourdough starter and get it going again!!
Desserts-We don't do dessert every night, but Rachel wanted to try some recipes out of Disney cookbook, so I told her we would make Chocolate and Cherry Mousse this week. I also plan to make a Sour cherry/almond Gallette since I have half a recipe of dough left that I made one with on our anniversary last Friday!! It was yummy, but I want to try a few more revisions to the recipe I created (by piecing together parts of several recipes). I used rapadura to sweeten it and organic butter and flour as well as sea salt. I also used local organic cherries. It was good, but I think I can improve on it!! I also plan to make some Baked Brown Rice Pudding- This is a recipe out of Nourishing Traditions and is very good. I have some cream a bit past its date, so that will be a good use for it (if it isn't too far off, I haven't opened it). If I get more bananas at the co-op this week, Rachel wants to make a recipe from her cookbook that is bananas sauteed in melted honey and served with whipped cream.

So I have to remember to soak the oatmeal (probably Wed. night for Thursday breakfast) and the beans (probably Wed night too) for the braised dish!!

This should get me till the weekend when I get my new CSA disbursement (Friday) and hit the farmer's market on Saturday. Then I will do a full week menu from Saturday till Friday for next week.

Oh, wow, when you write it down it is a lot to do, but we love to cook, so it should be ok. Off to get dinner started!!


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Movie Review--King Corn

I saw a segment on Good Morning America with the two guys who made this film. I thought it sounded very intriquing, so I bought the DVD on Amazon. I forgot about it, until Diane Franklin mentioned that she and John had rented it and really liked it.

Jay and I watched it a few weeks ago and I really liked it. It was informative and interesting for sure, but it was also done in such a way that it was also funny and engaging too. I know a lot about food issues both locally and globally, and so much of the information on corn and how it is grown was not new to me, but to see it and see how big the machines are and to see the response of the beef industry representatives is still eye-opening and sobering.

I do think they could have done even more with this movie. You get the feeling they were discouraged by what they saw, but you don't really get if it changed the way they lived, ate, etc. It has in my family. Once were were wise to the way our food system works in this country (which was about 6 years ago or so now) we could not go back. We have changed the way we live, eat and relate to food. It is all for the better. I also was dissapointed that they didn't get into the real issues surrounding Genetically Modified Organisms either. They briefly touch on it, but by no means tell the audience all the dangers and cover-up and corporate greed that has spawned this generation of franken foods.

I do recommend that everyone see this movie, but I also highly caution you to look at it as a beginning look at issues and to do your own research and ask questions of those involved in your local food system to learn more. There are a lot of important issues that are touched upon in this movie, but you need to know the rest to really and truly understand what a crisis we are in with our current food and health system!!