Friday, January 25, 2008

Sometimes the changes least noticed are the most significant

This is what we got in our Bountiful Basket two weeks ago.

It's gone... we ate it all. Really. (Okay, except for half of the cabbage... I don't like cabbage and have had a hard time cooking with it.)

That's an amazing accomplishment for our family. We eat well, but I tend to overbuy veggies from the supermarket and end up tossing half in the trash because they spoil too soon to be used or too late from being forgotten. Now that we are buying from this co-op, it's really transformed our meals.

Some of you may scoff and say, "Geez, that's not all that much to use up, we go through twice as many fruits and veggies in two weeks!" Well, you're way ahead of me on the green-wagon train. I start meal-planning with lots of ideas that fizzle out when it gets to five o'clock and I realize I forgot to defrost meat that day. As much as I want to eliminate convenience food from our pantry (and arteries), I still have a schedule that often puts me in front of the freezer digging for breaded fish bits or TJ's meatballs to put on top of 10 minute pasta.

This month, however, has nearly transformed my cooking routines. Now that I am not shopping for veggies on the spur of the moment, but rather forced to plan meals that take advantage of this new bounty, I have been more creative with my feeble attempts at culinary genius (or rather, competence), have wasted much less in the process from storing to leftovers, and have served meals that are more fresh and more homemade-from-scratch than ever before.

I'm still not always successful at these attempts (see above comments about cabbage--the pathetic "slaw" served to my family was met with thumbs-down, tongues-out reviews and afterwards dumped in the trash). However, the other things that came out of my kitchen this month--from the assortment of carrots, potatoes, onions, lettuces, corn, apples, citrus and berries--were all approved and requested again. My personal favorite so far was a Chicken Pot Pie. Mmmm, comfort food, soooo good.

Tomorrow's basket order will include three pounds of heirloom tomatoes and a half-pound of aged white cheddar cheese. Hubby has already put in a request for homemade tomato soup and a cheese sandwich. I hope I get this one right!

Any suggestions for canning tomatoes would be welcome. May your weekend also include a bounty!


Anonymous said...

You utterly inspire me.
I am WAY behind on the green-wagon. Pathetically so. I think all of that is my green veggie intake for like THREE months.
You are awesome!

Tina said...

Tomatoes - I wouldn't recommend canning unless you have a huge quantity that will need to keep a really long time. Instead, just freeze them. Blanch each tomato in boiling water for about 15-25 seconds, and the skin will peel right off. Put the rest in freezer bag and it will stay for over a year. Great for spaghetti sauces (although you need to boil off the water for awhile!)

- Tina from azmamas