Sunday, July 26, 2009

A week in review, meal plans, and the week ahead

Its been a busy, productive week. I got lots done in the garden and in the kitchen. We tried a new veggie for us, too - kohlrabi. YUM! It is so good! It tastes kind of like broccoli and cauliflower combined. I'm definitely adding it to my list of veggies to grow next year and I look forward to buying more at the farmers' markets this year. I wonder how it freezes...

I also invested in some new makeup - Origins brand. I figured it is about time I start looking for natural and safer alternatives to the products I use on myself and not just focus on Carson. So I picked up some mascara, eyeliner, pressed powder, and two lip glosses. I'll eventually start replacing my eye shadows, too, but with the prices I've paid for the MAC and Lancome shadows I already have, I just can't throw them away... I've got to get a little more use out of them. The products I've bought so far, I was running low on my old brands, so I needed to replace them one way or the other. So far, I really like the Origins products. The mascara is a little weird since it doesn't harden like the mascaras I've always used... but at the same time, its kind of refreshing to not have stiff lashes.

So on to the markets and kitchen projects...

~ Sunday, Carson and I made a quick trip to the Grand Blanc market. Here's what I got and what I did with it:
* 3 quarts tart cherries (to make cherry pie filling)
* 1 head organic cheddar cauliflower (for roasting on Sunday)
* 1 head organic white cauliflower (for raw eating in my lunches)
* 4 heads fresh garlic (for random uses)
* local, fresh (made just that morning) mozzarella cheese (for caprese salads for my lunches)

~ Thursday, they had a huge farmers' market on the lawn of the Capitol - they do one every July and September and they are always fantastic! It is always hard to control my spending at them, that's for sure! These markets feature vendors from all over Michigan giving out samples of their tasty products. They have several fruit and/or veggie stands, too. Here's what I found:
* fresh, local goat cheese (to use this week in quiche)
* smoked whitefish spread from the Mackinac Straits Fish Company (to spread on crackers as a lunch or snack over the weekend)
* fresh Jamaican Beef Pattie (kind of like a pasty, I took it home and shared it with Kevin)
* half a chicken shawarma sandwich from a local mediterranean restaurant (for lunch that day)
* baklava from the same local mediterranean restaurant (for lunch and dinner dessert that day)
* maple fudge from a local maple farm (for snacking over the weekend)
* peach-apple, blueberry-apple, and strawberry-apple ciders locally produced and using local fruits
* blueberry mustard from the Blueberry Store in South Haven (they said its great on chicken or salmon, so I'm going to try it sometime - otherwise great with pretzels!)
* pineapple salsa from Andy T's in St. Johns (to eat with tortilla chips)
* praline pecan dessert sauce from the Green Barn Llama Farm in Dimondale (to put over ice cream or cheesecake or brownies or anything, really... it is soooo divinely good! I want to try making some myself sometime!)
* Toe Jam from Wee Bee Jammin' in Manistee
* 2 kohlrabi (ate it on Saturday)
* 6 ears early sweet corn (ate it on Saturday)

This picture is just from one of my garden harvests this past week... I had two others just as large. Here's what I accomplished in terms of preserving the harvest and garden work this past week:
~ finished weeding the garden
~ tore out a few of the broccoli plants (half of them seem like they're done and half of them are still getting side shoots, so I tore out the ones that look done) and planted another round of yellow zucchini (I'm loving all of my succession plantings this year!)
~ tied up leaves on cauliflower plants (I totally forgot I had to do this once the heads started forming - but was reminded by one of the local organic farmers at the GB market - so hopefully we'll have lots of cauliflower coming in during the next couple weeks!)
~ twisted some of my cabbage plants to slow their growth so I don't have 14 heads of cabbage coming in all at once!
~ made and canned cherry pie filling
~ dehydrated some yellow zucchini (I've heard this is a great veggie to dry, that it tastes great re-hydrated... I plan to use them to add to soups mostly, though)
~ did some soil-testing in different areas of our orchard... our local nursery has peach trees in right now and I think we're going to get one or two... as well as a couple blueberry bushes (which need acidic soil, so they were the original need for the soil testing)
~ froze yellow zucchini slices (1-gallon bag total)
~ blanched and froze beans (1 1/2 1-gallon bags total)

As for this week, we've got a few things going on. We're going to my BFF Jaime's dad's house today for Jaime's and her husband Jeff's going away party. They're moving to Phoenix, Arizona in the next couple of weeks. We're going to miss them terribly!! But it'll be great for them to move out there. And hopefully we're able to visit them! And I actually have to work this Friday to go to an all-day meeting in Windsor. I'm going to try to take Thursday off as my flex day instead, though... we'll just have to see how busy I am whether I can take it or not... and I'm afraid this week will be very busy for me at work.

Sunday ~ We'll be at Jaime's dad's house on Lobdell Lake for the day for Jaime's and Jeff's going away party.
Meatless Monday ~ zucchini "crab" cakes, steamed beans from the garden, oatmeal apple butter bars
Tuesday ~ grilled chicken marinated in italian dressing (make extra for Thursday), stuffed zucchini We went to the ski show and since we hadn't really planned on it, we just stopped at Buffalo Wild Wings to get take-out to eat at the show.
Wednesday ~ crustless quiche with green beans, zucchini, and goat cheese zucchini parmesan, garlic toast
Thursday ~ cavatappi pasta with grilled chicken (from Tuesday), roasted zucchini, roasted cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, parm-reggiano cheese, lemon juice, and EVOO.
Friday ~ I'll be in Windsor all day, so something easy. I might try a white bean and chicken chili in the crockpot.
Saturday ~ We'll be making a trip to Grand Rapids to visit Kevin's grandparents. Not quite sure on timing of everything yet, so I'm not sure where we'll be when it comes time to eat. If we're home, we'll probably just have penne pasta with home-canned meat sauce, garlic bread from the freezer, and steamed beans from the garden... but I have a feeling we'll probably be on the road.

This week, I'll mostly just be focused on the garden... keeping up with the weeding and harvesting. I'll be freezing more beans and zucchini, dehydrating zucchini, and eating as much fresh as we can. I'd like to try making zucchini yeast rolls, but that will only happen if I end up having a day off of work.


Justin and Mary said...

Wow, awesome finds at the markets!! The one at the Capitol sounds fantastic. I'm jealous. Your garden sounds great too! We've only gotten one tiny yellow zucchini so far. But I'm still anxious to try it...see how different it is than yellow squash.

I'm interested to see what the "crabe" cakes are like.

Mary Voogt said...

Forgot to mention, I've used some Origins products...powder and blush. The blush was good. I didn't care as much for the powder. Right now I'm using Physician's Formula's organic. They sell it at Target. I'll probably try more of that brand as I need to replace the rest of my makeup. I've been using a natural deoderant for a while. And I got some more natural shampoo and conditioner to try. I'm gradually working on using more natural health and beauty products too. Just because it's only going on our skin doesn't mean it can't affect us. We can absorb a lot.