Day 354–Reindeer Pancakes

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How cute is that?

We’ve been talking about the need to add a “breakfast for dinner” night to our menu and I found a way to make a pancake supper that also celebrated winter (although it’s still in the 60s here) and Christmas. Enter, the reindeer pancake. I saw this idea online somewhere and couldn’t wait to try it. The version I saw used candy for the eyes and nose, but I subbed out some of our frozen fruit instead. So easy, so cute and it put everyone in a cheery mood at the table–given the news this past week, that was really needed.

Reindeer Pancakes

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels or a tea towel. Sit a wire cooling rack on top of the towel and put in the oven.
  3. In a frying pan, cook bacon until crisp. As bacon is done, lay strips on the cooling rack in the oven to keep warm. This will keep your bacon crispy yet let it drain as well.
  4. Clean the pan, coat with a thin layer of butter or cooking spray and heat over medium/low heat.
  5. Make one 8-9″ pancake per person and one 3-4″ pancake per person, plus extra for eating later. As pancakes cook, add them to the cooling rack in the oven to keep warm.
  6. When ready to serve, arrange a big pancake on the plate, with a smaller pancake (to be the muzzle of the reindeer) on top and toward the bottom of the larger pancake.
  7. Arrange bacon antlers on either side of the large pancake.
  8. Add blueberry eyes and raspberry/strawberry nose.
  9. Serve immediately with warm maple syrup and plenty of good cheer!
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Day 30–Western Wake Farmers Market

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Madison Whitley is the friendly of the Western Wake Farmer's Market

Any of us can get into a pattern of behavior, especially when it comes to shopping for groceries. So we are trying to extend our reach a bit and try other farmers markets and suppliers of local food. This week we had a great time at the Western Wake Farmer’s Market in Morrisville. A fun and totally friendly experience! Just a 15 minute drive from our house, the Western Wake Farmer’s Market has a terrific supply of locally produced cheeses, pasta, vegetables, seafood, and meat. Smaller than the State Farmer’s Market in Raleigh, this market focuses on high quality, mostly organic produce and no growth hormone, antibiotic free meat. The winter hours are Saturdays 10-12 and the market is located in the Carpenter Village shopping center parking lot.

Family Friendly Mom Power

We were greeted enthusiastically by Market Manager Madison Whitley, who quickly gave us information about the market and answered my many questions about vendors and how the Market works. The Market was actually founded by a group of moms who wanted the western part of our county to have the same access to fresh produce that others have from the State Farmer’s Market in Raleigh. Never underestimate the power of a group of moms! Everyone at the market was friendly, engaging and more than willing to answer my questions from The Sustainable Table question lists.

Improving Food Access

The WWFM, which was started by a group of dedicated moms, shares a concern that low income families in our county do not have adequate access to quality fresh produce (or in some cases, any fresh produce). The Market takes monetary donations, which it uses to purchase produce from the market vendors. Market vendors also make donations of produce themselves. The Market works with the Interfaith Food Shuttle, which picks up donations and distributes them to food pantries, soup kitchens, etc. This system allows them to contribute fresh produce without having to develop a new (and costly) distribution plan. In the last growing season, they donated more than 3,000 pounds of produce! LOVE this!

The Shopping

Ok, so this is a winter market, but the selection was still very good, with about 15 vendors. According to Madison, the summer market (starting in April) more than doubles the number of vendors. We purchased NC shrimp, locally roasted coffee, organic carrots and tatsoi, and two kinds of cheese (we’ll be back for more!).

So, if you’ve been wanting to try something new, seek out a new farmer’s market or co-op store that you haven’t visited before. You may be pleasantly surprised and, if you’re lucky like we were, you’ll have a new favorite as well!

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Day 8–Starting Week 2–Budget and Menu

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I am terrible with budgets. But, our family needs to budget for necessities and yours probably does, too. Our goal is to eat sustainable and/or locally produced food for 75% of our meals on $100 per week. We went over last week (darn you, New Years Eve :-)), but I rationalized that with a holiday dinner. So, how about this week? Here is how we spent our food budget in preparation for week 2:

  • Mae Farm meats (chicken, bacon, eggs):          $20.64
  • Heaven on Earth organics (turnips w/greens, dino kale, green peppers, tomatoes, onions):          $20.00
  • Trader Joes (tortillas, sour cream, cheese, oranges, frozen fruit):          $26.61
  • Lowes Foods (yogurt, green split peas, Kosher salt, can of pumpkin): 10.18
  • Whole Foods (ground bison, green lentils): $24.67

Total:  $102.10 (we are almost there!)

So, what are we eating for that? Here is our menu for the week:

  • Sunday–Roast chicken, turnips 2 ways (mashed and greens w/bacon)
  • Monday–Bison, green lentil and pumpkin chili, sour cream corn muffins (local corn meal left from last week)
  • Tuesday–chicken quesadillas (using leftover roast chicken), quinoa
  • Wednesday–leftover chili and corn muffins
  • Thursday–green split pea soup, homemade biscuits
  • Friday–leftovers
  • Saturday–out; extended family holiday dinner @ restaurant

Breakfasts are oatmeal or pumpkin muffins with fruit smoothies.

Lunches are either leftovers or sandwiches and fruit

I’m proud of how we have done so far and look forward to trying out a few new recipes (the bison chili especially!). At this point, we are eating at approximately 60% organic or local/sustainable food. This next week should increase that a bit. Now, can we keep this up? That is a challenge!