Day 176–Starting Week 27–Budget and Menu

Summer is most definitely here. This next week is expected to be very hot and humid, with temperatures over 100 just about every day. That is officially hot. I don’t know about you, when I hear about temperatures over 100, I think 2 things:

  1. Mama’s not cooking
  2. Find me at the pool

One of my favorite summer dinners is tomato sandwiches. Or ‘mater sandwiches. However you say it, I think they are summer perfection. I do make a tarted up version of the ‘mater sandwich, which is supposed to consist of soft white bread, tomato slices, mayonnaise and salt/pepper. We don’t eat white bread and I can’t handle the thought of a tomato sandwich on wheat (that is just wrong, people), so my compromise is fresh sourdough, regular (not low-fat) mayo, fresh, heirloom tomatoes, salt and pepper, some chopped rosemary from the garden and a slice of provolone cheese. I could eat these sandwiches every day. I LOVE them and consider them a staple of summer. As a matter of fact, I ate tomato sandwiches (yes, plural) just before going into labor with Ellie, so maybe they have a special place in my heart.

Heather at Sugar Dish Me did remind me that some people actually like their tomatoes as part of a “real sandwich”. Those people include the two other people in our  house. Tom and Ellie agree that tomatoes are a “food accessory” not the main event. Maybe Ellie came racing into the world to get AWAY from tomato sandwich because she clearly doesn’t share my passion for them. So, we’ll be having BLTs instead. I think my family will be happier with that change, and Heather thank you for sparing me from rolled eyes and “This is IT??” I owe you some peach salsa 🙂

I came in a little under budget this week at $96.42. I have to say honestly, we could probably eat for much less than that, but I cannot control myself when I see all the good stuff at the farmer’s market. I want to eat it all, which is impossible, especially if it’s too hot to cook. This week I’m making a new refrigerated savory jam called Bacon Onion Marmalade. Sounds amazing, no? I’ll be posting the recipe at some point this week. I’m also making some spicy peach salsa and canning that so we can enjoy our peaches later. So, here is how we spent $96:

Budget

  • Trader Joes (soy milk, oatmeal, frozen fruit, Ezekiel bread, sandwich bread, lemonade): $21.92
  • Produce Box (watermelon, peaches, grape tomatoes, pepper mix, sweet corn, raspberries, cucumbers, garlic, plums): $23.00
  • Locals Seafood (fresh swordfish steaks): $28.00
  • Mae Farm (bacon, pork tenderloin): $13.00
  • Melina’s Pasta (black pepper fettucine): $6.00
  • Other market vendors (green beans, onions, heirloom tomatoes): $4.50

What are we eating for that amount? Well, in typical fashion, we are NOT starving. Not by a long shot! Here’s the menu:

Menu

  • Wednesday–Melina’s peppercorn fettucine with checca sauce (not so much basil this time!)
  • Thursday–Grilled swordfish steaks with bacon-onion jam, roasted okra, cucumber salad
  • Friday–Egg salad sandwiches, homemade pickles
  • Saturday–Ellie cooks; BLT sandwiches with leftover bacon-onion jam, homemade pickles, roasted beets (cold)
  • Sunday–Grilled pork tenderloin with spicy peach chutney, green beans, corn on the cob
  • Monday–Flounder, buttermilk cornbread, leftover vegetables
  • Tuesday–Leftover buffet

Have a healthy and happy week!

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Day 170–A Locavore’s Lunch–Chuck’s

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It’s been a while since I’ve eaten out at lunch–I have been pretty good about bringing my lunch to work (usually leftovers) and lately I’ve had quite a few no-time-for-lunch days. So I was glad to head out with some fun ladies to Chuck’s, a local restaurant featuring hamburgers made from house ground, locally sourced, pasture-raised beef. Yep. All burgers, all the time. Well, and veggie burgers, too. I haven’t had a hamburger in a LONG time and let me tell you, it was GOOD.

Chuck’s is owned by local celebrity chef Ashley Christenson. Her restaurants and bars always have a hip vibe, creative food and mostly locally sourced ingredients. Trendy? Yes. Good? Yes. I don’t mind paying a bit for a burger if it is amazing (you’ve already heard my rants about paying a whole lot for nothing–that irks me).

I had a burger called The High and The Valley–a half pound (yes!) of ground beef with crushed avocado, bacon-onion jam and roasted red peppers. Along with a pile o’ fries. Oh. My. Goodness. My friends had the veggie burger with mozzarella/tomato/basil (high ratings), and The Dirty South–a burger topped with pulled pork chili, crispy onions, roasted tomato slaw, Ashe County cheddar and mustard. The beef at Chuck’s comes from North Carolina and is ground in-house. At $9 for the burger and $2.50 for the fries, it isn’t a cheap lunch, but it is very, very good and immensely satisfying if you need a burger fix and you are REALLY hungry. I was so full that I easily skipped dinner and that is highly unusual for me.

After waddling our way back to work, we decided that sometimes, you just gotta. At least we got our meat fix with local beef, local produce and a locally owned restaurant! Chuck’s goes on my “highly recommend” list for sure. Yum-a-licious.

Day 169–Starting Week 26–Budget and Menu

We are almost halfway through the year already! Where did the time go? I feel like I will blink and it will be Christmas again (I think I just depressed myself). If time flies when you’re having a good time, I must be having the mother of all good times (and I think maybe I am!). The markets are just loaded with goodness this week–I’ve really had to curb my food hoarding tendencies. We came in under budget this week at $95.69. Our menu includes one night of Ellie cooking (hence the spaghetti taco menu, which she assures us is amazing).

Here is how our budget breaks down this week:

  • Produce Box (peaches, blueberries, green pepper, eggplant, onion, tomatoes): $23
  • Homestead Farm (1/2 chicken): $9.00
  • Calico Farm (fresh mozzarella): $4.00
  • Locals Seafood (skin on flounder fillets): $18.00
  • Hilltop Farm Organics (squash, zucchini, potatoes): $6.50
  • DJ’s Produce (okra): $2.00
  • Trader Joes (frozen mango, yogurt, soy milk, taco shells): $30.19
  • The Mitchells (paying ourselves back for 1 jar of jam): $3

What are we having for $95? Here is our menu for the week!

Menu

  • Wednesday–Farm fresh salad with cukes, tomatoes, green peppers and blue cheese
  • Thursday–Cornmeal dusted flounder, corn, sautéed okra and tomatoes
  • Friday–Panini alla Margherita, cucumber spears, peach cobbler
  • Saturday–Spaghetti tacos
  • Sunday–Balsamic marinated chicken, grilled eggplant and squash
  • Monday–Quiche, sliced tomatoes
  • Tuesday–Leftover buffet

Day 134–Falling Off the Wagon

Hi, my name is Deanna, and it has been four days since my last locavore blog post.

In that four days, I have eaten s’mores, hushpuppies, campfire pizza, vegetables from a can, biscuits from a can and yes, I have ordered Papa Johns pizza with industrial ground beef. I am not proud of this, but, when camping with 11 pre-teen girls, sometimes it is a matter of survival (earplugs would also be a matter of survival, but that’s for another day). The Papa Johns was not so much camping survival as it was post-camping exhaustion. Note to self–take a day off work after camping with a group.

So today is Tuesday, May 15th, and I am making a committment to getting back in locavore action and eating healthy, locally produced foods once again. My cupboard is nearly bare, but tomorrow (Wednesday) is both Produce Box delivery day and downtown Raleigh farmer’s market day, so we should be flush with yummy local veggies, eggs and meats in another 24 hours.

This brings me to a change in how I post our weekly menus. Since our Produce Box comes on Wednesday and the farmer’s market just a few blocks from my office is also on Wednesday, I’ll be posting weekly menus and budgets on that day instead of Sundays, so look for the next menu tomorrow!

In the meantime, I’ll be curled up under my desk napping. 🙂