Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Wholesome Thanksgiving

I know it's been over a week now, but I wanted to share at little glimpse into our most recent celebration of food and family.

I happily agreed to cook most of the Thanksgiving food this year; the trade off was that my parents would donate cash for groceries, and Ted and I would supply the group of a dozen+ with something delicious on Thursday afternoon. Two stipulations: Dad would cook the turkey and the mashed potatoes.

After pulling together a few (too many?) delicious (and simple) recipes, creating a master preparation timeline (yep, I'm a geek) and shopping list, and packing everything in the car (with lots of help from Ted) for a Wednesday night rush hour tour of I-205, I-5, and eventually the "back road route" of 99W, we finally arrived in St. Paul in one piece.

My little brother, Jesse, collaborated on the food effort. We spent Wednesday night on prep work and pumpkin pies, and Thursday morning on final flourishes. Together we served...

Dad's Turkey and Mashed Potatoes
Rye and Apple Stuffing
Cranberry Apple Walnut Chutney
Maple Glazed Carrots
Maple Candied Garnet Yams
Sweet Potatoes Wedges
Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Pecans
Green Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette

And for dessert --
Pumpkin pies
And the crowned glory: Raspberry Almond Trifle

One of the real achievements underlying the whole menu/meal-shebang was the source and quality of the ingredients. Instead of the Stovetop Stuffing of years past, I used organic sage and parsley, locally baked bread, and local organic apples. Instead of typical cranberry out of the can, we started with fresh, local, organically grown cranberries and added the various ingredients for the chutney: local walnuts from Ted's grandpa's tree, more local apples, etc., etc. Organic carrots and garnet yams. Organic pumpkin for the pies (canned, but from a company out of Corvallis, Ore.). What a treat to enjoy the afternoon and revel in quality ingredients, delicious recipes and, most importantly - good company.

And, truth be told, eight days later I'm still polishing off leftovers. Which leads me to last night: Cranberry apple chutney spooned between layers of brie, surrounded by slices of apples sprinkled with brown sugar, baked at 350 degrees for 15 minute, and served warm over thin slices of a multi-grain baguette.



Happy eating!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Hi all,Today is the day I will yet again try this mysterious thing called a BUDGET!! I printed off our bank statements for the past 6 months and will hopefully enter them into Quicken and figure out what exactly we're spending our money on.
Do you all have any budget tips? I know about Dave Ramsey's envelope system... I just have a horrible time keeping track of reciepts and such. Do any of you have budgeting down to a science?
On a similar note, I was listening to the Deconstructing Dinner podcast (Thanks Bethany) and they gave an interesting statistic:

Today, an average of 10% of our income is spent on food
In 1950, an average of 22% of income was spent on food
In 1935, a modest earning farm family spent 47% of their income on food

(I forget the source for that...don't stone me :) )Just hearing those stats makes me think that we probably don't put enough of our monthly budget towards food that nourishes us (Or maybe we make more disposable income?) Either way, food should be a big priority :)


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Official Sustainable Food for Thought Website is UP!


Thanks to all you ladies who came over last night for our first food group meeting! Bethany and I enjoyed meeting and seeing each of you and hearing your ideas and feedback about future get-togethers. For this week I will be working on getting everyone cleared as administrators so we can share fun ideas and discussion topics.

Here's a thought for the day...
Last night after everyone left I took my oatmeal out of the fridge, measured a half cup, added leftover warm water and 2Tb of whey and put it in the turned-off oven. This morning I took it out and cooked it for 5min. (That's all it needed since it had been soaking). I added Adam's Crunchy peanut butter, cinnamon, and some homemade applesauce. It was so good, so filling and so energizing. I was on my way to work thinking about things I had to get done and I kept noticing how good I felt. I didn't just notice once but several times how content and peaceful and happy I was. Maybe the oatmeal had nothing to do with it, but I do think it's important to "listen" to our bodies and take note of how we feel after downing a coke, an apple, cheesecake, or a bowl of oatmeal.

Can't wait to meet with you all again in January. For those of you who were not there but interested in coming to the January meeting, we are reading "In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollan for discussion.



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